Michelle Forman. Director, Media Studies Program
(205) 934-8560
Heritage Hall 360E

Research and Teaching Interests: Film history, documentary production and distribution, science and health media, cinematic representation of the other, animal theory

Office Hours: Tu/Th 12:15 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. (and by appointment)


  • BA, Harvard University, 1993
  • MA, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2009

Michele is a documentary filmmaker who got her start as an executive in feature films. As Director of Development at Spike Lee's 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks, she was responsible for the acquisition and development of new projects, including New Jersey Drive, Girl 6, Sula, The Jackie Robinson Story, and Summer of Sam. In addition, Forman served as associate producer on Mr. Lee's Academy Award-nominated film 4 Little Girls, a feature-length documentary for HBO about the bombing of the Sixteenth Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.

Michele co-founded the UAB Media Studies Program in 2003 with the aim of using new media technologies to connect students with crucial community issues in the Greater Birmingham area. She loves teaching media and film history, as well as using the methods of documentary filmmaking, digital storytelling, oral history, and multimedia-based research to give students the chance to connect what they learn in the classroom with real-world experience.

Though she loves arthouse and non-fiction films, you can often find her checking out the latest heist movie at the multiplex.

Recent Courses

  • Media, Culture, and Society
  • Introduction to Film and History
  • History of Documentary Film
  • Ethnographic Filmmaking

Select Works

  • Associate Producer, Associate Producer, 4 Little Girls, feature-length documentary on the 1963 bombing of Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. HBO. Nominated for an Academy Award, 1997.
  • Co-Director and Co-Producer, Coat of Many Colors, feature-length documentary about the tension between tradition and innovation in 20th century of Alabama arts. Nominated for an Emmy™, 2000-2001.
  • Director and Producer, Climb for the Cause: A Breast Cancer Story, feature-length documentary about five Alabama women with breast cancer who decide to transform their grueling experience with the disease into something positive for other women. They raise money and awareness about breast cancer by climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, one of the world's tallest peaks. Completed 2007. Optioned 2008, Caribou Entertainment.

Academic Distinctions & Professional Memberships

  • Media Fellowship Curriculum Designer, Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC)
  • Representative from higher education on film and media education, AFI—Discovery Channel SilverDocs National Education Steering Committee 2011-2012
  • UAB University Honors Program Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award, 2011.
  • UAB University Honors Program Service Award, 2009.
  • Juror for the Radziwill Award, Anthony Radziwill Documentary Fund, 2006.
  • Selected as one of 20 current documentary filmmakers to discuss direction and needs of documentary film and filmmakers, Sundance Channel Documentary Think Tank, 2003-2005.
  • Film selected for Toronto Documentary Forum, 2002.
  • Emmy™ Nomination for Coat of Many Colors, The National Academy of Arts and Sciences, Outstanding Achievement in Cultural Affairs Programming, 2002.
  • Women to watch in the 21st Century, Newsweek Magazine, January 8, 2001.
  • Oscar™ nomination for 4 Little Girls, Academy Award Nomination, Best Feature-Length Documentary, Associate Producer, 1997.
  • Intramural Service, KoronisFest, UAB School of Public Health Film Festival and Poster Competition.
  • Women's Studies Program Committee, 2009- present.
  • University Honors Program Honors Council, 2009 -present.
  • Interdisciplinary Film Minor Committee, 2005-present.