My favorite part of Southern Exposure was meeting so many amazing people. I had a lot of fun making my film and traveling to some of the many beautiful areas of Alabama. I love what Southern Exposure represents and was honored to be a part of it!
—Mindy Keeley, 2014 Fellow
Having the chance to explore Alabama's natural landscapes, the mentorship and peer-critique process within a diverse group of filmmakers, and the networking opportunities the process brought with it gave me such a positive experience with a group of peers whose friendship and work I truly value.
—Rhonda Chan Soo, 2013 Fellow
Southern Exposure was an amazing experience – learning about the pressures on the environment, being embraced by Alabama's community of environmental advocates, soaking in beautiful natural treasures, spending a summer with a talented group of filmmakers – I couldn't recommend it more.
—Emily Fraser, 2013 Fellow
They made it really easy for us to fall in love with Alabama, especially as first timers. I think they also made it really easy for us to become concerned about this beautiful place because they opened our eyes to a very diverse range of pressing environmental needs here.
—Liza Slutskaya, 2016 Fellow and 2018-19 Program Coordinator
My experience in Alabama in 2014 had a profound impact on me as a filmmaker, but more importantly I linked up with a great posse of friends and collaborators.
—Chris Jones, 2014 Fellow
Through the personalized mentorship and support provided throughout the fellowship, I truly grew as a filmmaker, producer and storyteller, and was able to explore the beauty of Alabama. The fellowship definitely provided the steppingstones to my current career path as a video producer.
—Kaitlin McMurry, 2018 Fellow
Run by an amazing group of experienced filmmakers & passionate advocates, it's impossible to leave this program without an impressive film for your portfolio and meaningful connections to those fighting for important issues across Alabama. I wish I could be a part of this fellowship every summer!
—Celine Francois, 2021 Fellow
I truly believe that Southern Exposure is a MUST for young, southern documentary filmmakers with interests in the realm of Social and Environmental Justice. Not often do you get an opportunity like this in the South, especially one of such value and importance.
—Jeb Brackner, 2019 Fellow
This opportunity allowed me to grow as a professional in the world of environmental filmmaking & gave me skills + insights on how I can use film & media to be a powerful advocate of the natural world. I gained a better appreciation for the culture, people & nature of the beautiful state of Alabama!
—David Diaz, 2018 Fellow
Dams have completely altered the species makeup, flows, and habitat of many of our most important river systems. In Alabama, home to some of the greatest biodiversity in the nation, Claiborne and Miller’s Ferry Locks and Dams have prevented migratory fish, like the sturgeon and Alabama Shad, from accessing their historic runs from the Gulf of Mexico up the Alabama River to their spawning grounds in the Cahaba River since they were built in the 1970s. These barriers have also left endangered and threatened mussels unable to reproduce and in peril of dying out. MUSSEL MEMORY explores the significance of reconnecting river systems and protecting Alabama's freshwater mussels, our natural water filtration system. Join scientists, conservationists, engineers and anglers as they fight to restore fish passage along the Alabama and Cahaba Rivers.
A project of this magnitude would culminate in the most ecologically significant river reconnection project in the history of the United States, right here in Alabama. Directed by Nora Long.
Alabama is a global hotspot for turtle diversity and the perfect playground for turtle scientists. The variety of microhabitats traversing the state create conditions for turtle diversity unmatched anywhere else on the planet. This film explores the “glamorous life of turtles” in Alabama -- from the dramatic alligator snapping turtle to the elusive and almost extinct flattened musk turtle -- and the special people who spend their time protecting this critical species. Directed by Joe Fairbanks.
The current administration is rolling back crucial protections for streams and wetlands across the country in a direct assault on the Clean Water Act. This incredibly beautiful film tells the story of the rivers, streams, and wetlands of Alabama to illustrate the dangers of the proposed regulation. By doing so, it shows the economic benefits, ecological health, and cultural way of life that hang in the balance. Directed by Remi Escudié.
Many of the ecosystems in Alabama and throughout the southeast evolved with fire. Human ignited “prescribed fire”, also known as controlled burns, are an essential technique to mimic this natural process to maintain and restore critical habitats. With an ever growing population and extensive efforts to restore large areas of native habitats such as longleaf pine, partnerships are critical to provide the capacity necessary to implement fire on the scale needed to accomplish these objectives. Directed by Kenzie Greer.
After millions of years in the making, Alabama has over 4,000 caves that are explored and beloved by spelunkers from all over. With a diverse array of underground plants, animals and other organisms, conserving these massive underground formations and their delicate ecosystems is crucial. Follow some of the most enthusiastic and daring cavers into the breathtaking hidden treasures of northeast Alabama, an area that boasts one of the highest concentrations of caves in the U.S. and supports incredible cave biodiversity. Directed by Drew Perlmutter.
Since arriving in Alabama in the 1500’s through Spanish settlers, the presence of feral hogs has increased in the past 20 years, resulting in serious environmental damage to farms and wilderness areas. This film explores the problems caused by invasive species through the eyes of those trying to curb the growing feral hog population in northern Alabama. Directed by Mindy Keeley.
Explore Alabama’s environment through the eyes of its young, future environmentalists at Camp McDowell, a non-profit educational organization with a mission to connect young people to their environment and promote commitment to lifelong learning. Directed by Johanna Obenda.
The Forever Wild Land Trust Program created state-owned Nature Preserves and Recreation areas after Alabama voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the program in 1992, making it the most successful conservation ballot measure in the history of the United States. Here is the inspiring story of Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust, which has been renewed for another 20 years thanks to overwhelming public support. Directed by Sebastian Lasaosa Rogers .
Dams can permanently disturb the structure and function of once free-flowing water bodies, and the damming of the Coosa River has resulted in one of the largest extinction events in U.S. history with 40 species lost forever. How has the damming of Alabama's rivers altered our watersheds, water quality, and water quantity of our state? Directed by Katherine Gorringe.
Take a journey through one of the most beautiful and ecologically important hotspots on the planet: Alabama's Mobile-Tensaw Delta. Encompassing cypress swamps, marshes, and bottomland forests, this 260,000-acre area provides habitat for over 300 types of birds and over 60 rare or endangered species. Directed by Hiram Rogers.
Two years after the 2010 BP oil spill, a devastated community on Mobile Bay, AL, continues to suffer ecologically, physically, and financially—its formerly booming fishing economy now stagnant. Hear the voices of local fisherman, scientists, doctors, and environmentalists as they describe the short-term consequences of possibly the biggest environmental catastrophe in history, and worry about what the future holds for Mobile Bay.
Directed by Katie Jewett.
In a state with 77,000 miles of rivers and streams, fishing is a way of life for many Alabama residents and supports a vibrant seafood and tourism industry. But Alabama's waterways--and the people and wildlife who depend on them--are facing an unprecedented array of threats, from the BP oil spill to coal ash pollution to contaminated runoff from construction sites. Directed by Jessica Pic.