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 Program Coordinator

2015 Films

Introduction: Southern Exposure 2015

Alabama’s scenic beauty and stunning array of natural landscapes represent some of the most unique and ecologically diverse places found on earth. But the environmental wealth found within its borders faces the modern-day reality of development interests and industrial pressures, threatening the very resources that make Alabama so special. The Southern Exposure films explore the triumphs and struggles of those working to make a difference and to protect the quality of our air and water, the places we love, and the foundation of our livelihoods.

E. O. Wilson: A Distinguished Alabamian

Native Alabamian Dr. E.O. Wilson is one of the most famous and well-respected biologists in the world. A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Dr. Wilson has taught at Harvard for over 50 years and is known as the "father of biodiversity." Learn about his journey from a young boy growing up in Alabama to becoming one of the most renowned scientists in his field and a supporter of the Southern Exposure film fellowship program.

Sharing the Secrets

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.

The Storm Downstream

After Dr. Peter DeFranco began noticing that stormwater pollution was streaming from a nearby development into a neighborhood lake, he decided to take action by collecting water samples and documenting the visible environmental effects. This is the story of an individual trying to make a change in his own backyard, and the important role of citizen enforcement in reporting stormwater violations in the absence of action by state and local agencies. Directed by Jesseca Simmons.

Oysterman

After 40 years working in the oyster industry in Bayou la Batre, Alabama, the lasting environmental and economic impacts from the BP oil spill have put one man officially out of business, and have wreaked havoc on coastal communities whose livelihoods have been changed irreparably. Through his story, trace the effects of overfishing and environmental disaster on a once-prized industry in Alabama, as many questions remain for the next generation of commercial fishermen, shrimpers and oystermen. Directed by Sami Chen.

Fishermen's Right to Know

Just below the H. Neely Henry Dam on the Coosa River, Mr. Woods catches catfish to fry and eat. Like many lakes and rivers in Alabama, this spot has a fish consumption advisory, indicating that the fish may contain dangerous levels of mercury and other contaminants. The Alabama Department of Public Health suggests limiting or avoiding consumption of some fish species in certain locations--information found on the agency’s website--but there is no legal requirement to post signs for fishermen. Where does that leave Mr. Woods and others who depend on fishing for sustenance? Directed by Natasha Raheja.

On the Horizon

With an abundance of hot, sunny days, Alabama has an incredible solar resource. Yet most of the state remains in the dark, as neighboring states like Georgia surge ahead with investments in solar energy--and the job creation and environmental benefits that follow. Closer to home, the difference between solar-friendly TVA territory in northern Alabama and the rest of the state limits Alabamians’ access to this fuel-free, cost-effective energy source. Learn about Alabama’s vast solar potential, and the impediments and policy barriers that are holding back its solar success. Directed by Lauren Musgrove.

2015 Preview

Watch a sneak peek of the 2015 Southern Exposure films.