Photo courtesy of Netflix/Rebecca Kiger

Photo courtesy of Netflix/Rebecca Kiger

In the heart of America's opioid epidemic, four men attempt to reinvent their lives and mend broken relationships after years of drug abuse. Recovery Boys, from Academy Award nominated director Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Heroin(e)), is an intimate look at the strength, brotherhood, and courage that it takes to overcome addiction and lays bare the internal conflict of recovery. In an effort to break the cycle of generational addiction and trauma, the young men let go of painful pasts as they live in the present, and build a new community in a farming-based rehab. After rehab, they experience life's trials and tribulations sober, but struggle to find their place and purpose in an often unforgiving society. In today’s world, where shocking statistics about the opioid crisis make headlines daily, Recovery Boys gives a deeply personal look into the unseen lives of those working toward transformation.

World Premiere 2017 Telluride Film Festival. In the face of the opioid epidemic in a West Virginia town, three women are giving their community a fighting chance. "Heroin(e)," directed by Elaine McMillion Sheldon, only on Netflix September 12. Photo courtesy of Netflix/Rebecca Kiger


For decades, the Navy base known as Sugar Grove Station provided jobs and a sense of stability for the residents of Sugar Grove, West Virginia. Now, it’s being auctioned off to the highest bidder. As their mainstay fades away, members of the community consider the "Upper Base” of the former Navy post, where an NSA listening post remains operational—and sealed off from the rest of the town.

What do Trump's economic promises to the coal industry mean to voters in West Virginia? Twelve thousand mining jobs have disappeared in the state over the last few years -- and 70 percent of the vote went to Trump.


This short film, which premiered at the TEDWomen 2016 conference, explores the history of humans' complicated relationship with time, deconstructs our obsession with controlling it, and contemplates how to be more mindful of this valuable resource. 

Tiffany Noé wanders the early-morning streets of Little Haiti in Miami. She’s north of Miami’s business downtown and across the bay from the neon lights and spring break parties on Miami Beach. Here, the streets are quiet, with some local residents popping out to say hello as Ms. Noé walks by. She’s searching for something that not many people take to the streets of north Miami to find: food.


New York Times Op-Docs




Serious hunting to eliminate a beautiful, but venomous, species rapidly taking over the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The only way to get rid of the invaders is if the greatest predator of all - humans - kill the lionfish before they wreak more havoc.

Directed & Edited by Kerrin Sheldon. Cinematography by Elaine Sheldon & Kerrin Sheldon

The lionfish have invaded your plate, and they're delicious. Ryan Chadwick currently owns three restaurants, a vodka brand and a nightclub, and these days he is trying to make a business out of an environmental problem. Chadwick is serving lionfish to diners at Norman's Cay, his Caribbean-style restaurant on the Lower East Side in New York.

Directed by Kerrin Sheldon. Cinematography by Elaine Sheldon & Kerrin Sheldon. Edited by Elaine Sheldon


New York Times Op-Docs

This short film celebrates the life and work of Seamus Heaney, the most famous contemporary poet in Ireland.

Directed & Produced by Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon 

Abandon These Mountains

Nearly 75,000 gathered in the small community of Holden, W.Va. to celebrate Labor Day at The Friends of America Rally. The rally was sponsored by Massey Energy and cost around $1 million to produce. Guests included: Ted Nugent, Sean Hannity and Hank Williams Jr. III Video by Elaine McMillion / Charleston Daily Mail (2010)

In its heyday, Welch, West Virginia was known as “Little New York” and the “nation’s coal bin.” But with a decrease in the demand for coal and miners, the county has lost 80,000 people since 1950. Ed Shepard has owned and operated his service station in Welch for 62 years and has seen his town transform from a bustling city to a ghost town. Despite lack of business, the 89-year-old still opens his store daily. He says his life at the station gives him purpose. 

There Is Hope For The Area

Shawn and Stephanie Penwarden moved from North Carolina to McDowell County, West Virginia over two years ago. Shawn was initially hauling coal, but when his business slowed down they decided to start providing services to the ATV riders on the Hatfield and McCoy trail. The Penwardens run an ATV repair and parts shop and a small restaurant in Northfork, but not without struggle. They have a hard time finding qualified workers and getting the local support needed to integrate their business into the community. 

The Trout Are Beautiful Here

Elkhorn Creek was listed in Field and Stream as being one of the top 10 trout streams in the country. People travel from all over the country and world to fish the stream and get a glimpse at the beautiful rainbow and brown trout. But due to lack of infrastructure in the old coal mining towns, the Elkhorn suffers from pollution like many Appalachian rivers and streams.

Farming Young

Once urban dwellers, some young adults are choosing the farm life over corporate America. The farmers at Wheatland Vegetable Farms in Loudon County, Va., say that while their new job demands hard labor and longer hours, it provides them with a heightened sense of accomplishment and independence. Video by Elaine McMillion / The Washington Post (2009)


A journey underground with a team of coal miners in McDowell County, West Virginia. 

Basketball at Mount View High School

Hauling Coal

Swim team in Welch, W.Va.

"Country Roads" at church

Learning how to fish

Manuel Collins flatfooting in his home in War, West Virginia. 



New York Times Op-Docs

In Colorado, two towns near each other have divergent reactions to their state’s legalization of marijuana. 


Featured on Gawker

West Virginia stands in a state of emergency after a potentially harmful chemical spilled into a local river and contaminated the water supply. And no one knows how long it will last. More than 100,000 customers in the nine counties receiving water from the 1,500-mile affected network were ordered to stop using their water for almost everything.

Almost six days after a chemical leak left 300,000 West Virginians without drinkable tap water, life is slowly starting to return to normal. Most parts of nine counties that received water contaminated by thousands of gallons of a chemical used in the coal industry still can't use their water. But close to 25,000 customers were able to flush unsafe water out of their homes and businesses. 

THE LOWER 9 (2011)

The Lower 9: A Story of Home is a documentary showcasing four determined Lower-Ninth-Ward residents who share their most intimate stories of home, as they resume their lives over seven years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged their neighborhood. The individual’s stories find voice in a narrative that intersperses contemporary interviews, abstract cinematography of destruction, and powerful scenes of present-day lives.

Directed by: Matthew Hashiguchi
Co-Directed by: Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Produced by: Matthew Hashiguchi, Elaine McMillion Sheldon