Several talented young filmmakers from across the country are chosen every year to create short documentaries dedicated to encouraging environmental awareness in Alabama. Though previous fellows of the Southern Exposure Films have diverse environmental interests, their films all capture Alabama’s beauty and inspire care for the state’s natural resources. 

Works from fellows in previous years have been selected for film festivals nationwide. Past films include Heal The River, directed by Polish filmmaker, Paulina Sobczak, about how residents downstream of the Harris Dam on the Tallapoosa River fight to improve river health and dam operations. Heal The River was selected for screening at the Florida Environmental Film Festival. 

The Last Hike, directed by internationally recognized GSA BAFTA Student Awards Shortlister, Celine Francois, depicts the story of 83 year-old Nimblewill Nomad, the oldest person to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Starting his hike at Flagg Mountain in Alabama, Nimblewill ends his over 50,000 miles of hiking experience with this one final trek. The Last Hike was selected for screening at several film festivals including the Wild & Scenic Film Festival, the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, and the Wasatch Mountain Film Festival, among others. 

Other previous fellows include Claire Haughey, co-director of Renga for the West, and Below the Flood director, Sarah Franke. 

Selected fellows are able to serve local communities by raising awareness about pressing ecological concerns, gaining a variety of valuable experiences, including: 

  • Exploring Alabama’s natural resources 
  • Obtaining connections with the Southern Exposure sponsor, Alabama Rivers Alliance, and their partner organizations 
  • Gaining critique from the Alabama River Alliance and other filmmakers 
  • Perfecting presentation skills by working with clients 

Director of 2019 film, Nearest Neighbors, Rhonda Chan Soo, reflects on her experience as a  Southern Exposure 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.” 

Applicants are asked to provide a cover letter, resume, an optional letter of recommendation, and an academic transcript (fellows must have completed 2 film production courses) by March 31, 2022. Fellowship applications can be found on the Alabama River Alliance website, linked here. Selected fellows will be notified by mid-April 2022. Southern Exposure offers housing and a weekly stipend for the duration of the summer fellowship. 

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