The Southern Exposure Film Series is a film fellowship program bringing emerging filmmakers to live, work and play in Alabama while they create short documentaries that celebrate Alabama’s natural beauty, break down wonky policy and scientific issues, and inspire action through storytelling.

In 2020, due to COVID-19, the fellows worked remotely from Oakland, Chicago, Tulsa and Duluth, directing an on-the-ground in Alabama film “crew of two”, to create compelling stories you do not want to miss. This unique experience, while challenging, highlights an innovative way of storytelling. Learn more about Southern Exposure by clicking here.


About the 2020 films:

A FISHER’S RIGHT TO KNOW directed by John Haley

Fishers throughout East Alabama depend on the mighty Coosa River for food, recreation and a family pastime that goes back generations. But do fishermen and women — and their families —  have a right to know which fish are safe to consume? Not currently in Alabama, the River State. Coosa Riverkeeper and other advocates are working to give fishers across the entire state that right.

Click here to watch the teaser!

BRIDGES TO BARRIERS directed by Robin Crane

There has never been a more important time for all people to be able to participate in the environmental movement.  From the impacts of climate change to the need to spend more time outdoors, our health and our quality of life depends on it. Yet many barriers keep BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) from feeling included in this movement.  This film explores the ways in which organizations in Alabama are doing the necessary and critical work to make sure BIPOC are included. Through the lens of community science, individuals share their struggles to be included and organizations share their challenges and successes with creating more inclusive programs and opportunities.  


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.  

Click here to watch the teaser!

SOILED directed by McKinleigh Lair

When Julie Lay and her family began smelling a stench so powerful it reminded her first-responder husband of the smell of dead bodies, she decided she needed to find out more. She found that in Alabama she was far from alone. She left her career in agriculture and food safety to investigate. Waste by-products, including treated human sewage and the waste from poultry processing plants, is being applied directly to farmland throughout the country. Who is regulating this practice and what kind of pollution or toxins could be getting in our food that is growing in the soil mixed with this sludge?

Click here to watch the teaser!

Click here to support Southern Exposure

Made possible through the support and partnership with environmental and conservation groups across the state, Southern Exposure fellows have the opportunity to create inspiring, captivating films that give viewers a sense of how much Alabama has to offer and the importance of protecting its resources.

As a result of these poignant stories depicting the triumphs and challenges facing the state, numerous films from past fellowship years have been selected for screening in juried film festivals around the country.

Live screenings and online distribution of the films continue to reach a variety of audiences, in Alabama and across the nation, helping Southern Exposure fulfill the mission to spread awareness, appreciation and inspire action on behalf of Alabama’s environment.

For more information about the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship or to view the films from previous years, visit:


With support from: