On Screen


With today’s streaming services, Americans no longer have to attend film festivals or local screenings to watch documentaries. Whether they are set in the South, feature Southerners, or both, these documentaries and shorts range from quirky to heartbreaking but all of them offer viewers the opportunity to see past the common beliefs, myths, and narratives about some of the region’s real people and places. This selected list of Southern docs includes perspectives from and about the South that viewers may not have considered previously. (Teachers should always view any documentary themselves before deciding to show it in class.)

*To suggest a title for this list, used the contact form on the About page.

Regional

Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus (2003) • deepsouth (2009)

Trapped (2016) •  Sharecrop (2017) • The Neutral Ground (2021)

Alabama

Alabama Outlaws: Wrestling on the Indie Circuit or Southern Discomfort (2002)

Order of Myths (2008) • Butch Anthony’s Folk Art Compound (2011)

Eating Alabama (2012) • Welcome to the Village (2017)

Hale County This Morning This Evening (2018)

Waste Not Want Not: Recycling in Alabama (2019)

Arkansas

The Town that Dreaded Sundown (1976)

Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

West of Memphis (2012) • The Gospel of Eureka (2018)

Florida

Vernon, Florida (1982) • Unprecedented (2002)

The Bubble (2012) • 537 Votes (2020)

Georgia

Get the Side Effects (1980) • Athens, Georgia Inside/Out (1987)

Scarred but Smarter (2012)

Kentucky

Trouble Behind (1991) • American Hollow (1999)

The Price of Poverty in Kentucky (2013)

Louisiana

Bayou Blue (2014) • The Other Side (2016) • Bogalusa Charm (2019)

The Neutral Ground (2021)

Mississippi

Mississippi Chicken (2007) • Prom Night in Mississippi (2009)

Mississippi: I Am (2012) • The Uncomfortable Truth (2017)

Mississippi Madam (2018) • Fertile Ground (2020)

Far East Deep South (2021)

North Carolina

Dixie Queen (2003)

Where Do You Stand? Stories from an American Mill (2004)

Voices of North Carolina (2005) • Change Comes Knocking (2007)

Fake It So Real (2012) • First Language (2014)

Southeastern NC Surfing (2016)

South Carolina

I Am Somebody (1970) • Scarred Justice: The Orangeburg Massacre, 1968 (2008)

Trappist (2008) • Wilhemina’s War (2016) • Black Beach/White Beach (2017)

Pearl Fryar: The Man with the Green Thumb (2019)

Counter Histories: Rock Hill (2019) •  Meltdown in Dixie (2020)

Tennessee

Tennessee Yearbook (2002) • Beauty is Embarrassing (2012)

40 Years on The Farm (2012)

Virginia

A Perfect Candidate (1996) • What Remains (2006)