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
Sherry Bradley and Perman Hardy met on an ordinary Friday afternoon. Amid national and international media recognition of the egregious sanitation and health challenges facing counties across the Black Belt, they helped create an extraordinary consortium of community members, academic institutions, nonprofits, and government agencies dedicated to finding practical solutions for wastewater issues throughout the Black Belt in Alabama.
The Black Belt Unincorporated Wastewater Project, UAB Sanitation Health and Equity program and other members of the Alabama Rural Water and Wastewater Management Consortium, are utilizing historic state and federal infrastructure funding to implement real solutions on the ground, transforming communities through education and bringing justice to areas that have long been overlooked and underserved for these basic needs. Directed by Astrid Malter.
In this micro-short film, enjoy as a captivating poem unfolds, gently celebrating the profound beauty found in the intricate details of the Sipsey Wilderness.
This film and poem was made as part of the Alabama Poetry Delegation, a partnership between Alabama Poetry Laureate Ashley M. Jones, and the Alabama Writers Forum. It is supported by the Academy of American Poets and the Mellon Foundation. Directed by Poet and Intro Film Fellow Palavi Ahuja.
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.
"We are our ancestor’s wildest dreams, and we are still here".
Some Indigenous people were never forced to leave what is now known as Alabama, and many across the continent are still intimately connected to their sacred homelands. Meet three Indigenous people who are answering their ancestor’s prayers to reclaim traditional lifeways, protect the environment, and teach us all how to better our relationships with the natural world and Native Nations.
Directed by Quinn C. Smith.
Landfills are an out-of-sight, out-of-mind part of everyday life in America, but in Alabama, they have long been a case for noxious odors, air and water pollution, and a lax regulatory environment that leaves communities vulnerable to environmental and health hazards. In the aftermath of a 2022 landfill fire near Birmingham that raged for months, suffocating multiple counties in smoke and odor, nearby residents demanded answers. They questioned how this was allowed to happen, why this company was not held accountable for years of violations, and what could be done to demand more from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. This film holds ADEM’s feet to the fire, as non-profit organizations like Cahaba Riverkeeper, Gasp and Friends of Pinchgut Creek lead the charge to protect the water and air for nearby residents.
Directed by Annie Foreman.
Director Lily Ahree Siegel goes on a playfully sardonic escapade as she ventures beyond city limits – and air conditioning – into the Sipsey Wilderness in Northwest Alabama. It is her home state, after all; a land she once passed, but never knew. Will meeting others who are in tune with the spell this area cast help reconcile that Wilderness is for her too? Directed by Lily Ahree Siegel.