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.


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

Trapped (2016) •  Sharecrop (2017) •  Rumble: Indians who Rocked the World (2019)

 The Neutral Ground (2021)


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)

State of Alabama v Brittany Smith (2022)


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)


Vernon, Florida (1982) • Unprecedented (2002)

The Bubble (2012) • 537 Votes (2020)


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

Scarred but Smarter (2012)


Harlan County USA (1976) • Trouble Behind (1991)

Fast Food Women (1991) • American Hollow (1999)

The Price of Poverty in Kentucky (2013) • Hillbilly (2020)


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

The Neutral Ground (2021)


Othar Turner and the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band (1978)

The Land Where the Blues Began (1979)

It’s Bad, You Know: The Blues According to Fat Possum (1999)

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)

Downing of a Flag (2022)


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

40 Years on The Farm (2012)


JR “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius (2019)

The Textbook Wars: How Race is Taught (2022)


A Perfect Candidate(1996)What Remains (2006)

Trappist Monks of Virginia (2015)