Photo By: Amanda Edwards/Getty

Photo By: Amanda Edwards/Getty

Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker and non-fiction storyteller based in Appalachia. She is the director of two Netflix Original Documentaries - "Heroin(e)" and "Recovery Boys" - that explore America's opioid crisis. "Heroin(e)" was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award and won the 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary.

In 2013, she released "Hollow," an interactive documentary that examines the future of rural America through the eyes and voices of West Virginians. Hollow received a Peabody, Emmy nomination and 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo Multimedia Awards.

Sheldon has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Anthony Bourdain's CNN Show Parts Unknown and Meet The Press with Chuck Todd. She was recently named a 2018 USA Fellow by United States Artists, one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine and one of "50 People Changing The South" by Southern Living Magazine. In 2016, Chicken & Egg Pictures awarded her with the inaugural "Breakthrough Filmmaker" award.

She's a founding member of All Y'all Southern Documentary Collective. She has been commissioned by Frontline PBS, The Center for Investigative Reporting, The New York Times Op-Docs, TEDWomen, Field of Vision, and The Bitter Southerner.

She lives in Charleston, West Virginia with her husband and filmmaker, Curren Sheldon.


2018 Academy Award Nominee: Heroin(e)

2018 Emmy Award: Heroin(e)

2018 Peabody Nominee: Heroin(e)

2018 Cinema Eye Award Nominee: Heroin(e)

2018 USA Fellow

2016 ADC Young Gun

2016 Chicken & Egg's Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

2015 AIR New Voices Scholars

2014 World Press Photo Award 3rd Prize

2014 Emmy Nominee: Hollow

2013 Peabody Award: Hollow

2013 Fellow at Future of Storytelling

2013 Filmmaker Magazine’s: 25 New Faces of Independent Film


10/2019: WV Public Broadcasting

6/2018: The New York Times

2/2018: Business Insider

2/2018: Mic

2/2018: Vanity Fair

1/2018: Moveable Fest

11/2017: The New Republic

11/2017: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

11/2017: NPR 1A

11/2017: Think Progress

11/2017: The Washington Post's "The Lily"

11/2017: The Hollywood Reporter

10/2017: Obama Foundation Summit

10/2017: MSNBC Meet The Press Daily

10/2017: Lens Scratch, The States Project

9/2017: Mother Jones

9/2017: Los Angeles Times

12/2015: Kickstarter Creators Hangout

3/2015: Filmmaker Magazine

1/2015: Meet Your Maker: StoryBench

1/2015: International Journalists’ Network

1/2015: Columbia University

7/2014: KALW (San Fransisco Public Radio)

7/2014: WMMT Mountain Talk (Radio)

9/2013: POV

9/2013: Filmmaker Magazine

9/2013: PBS MediaShift

11/2013: Southern Glossary

3/2013: Filmmaker Magazine

12/2012: CollabDocs


2017 Meet The Press Film Festival

2017 SF Film

2017 LACMA Screening of "Heroin(e)"

2017 Telluride Film Festival

2016 BritDoc Good Pitch NYC

2016 IFP Spotlight on Documentaries

2016 Points North Pitch at Camden International Film Festival

2016 Sundance Film Festival:  Docs of the Future Panel

2015 Ford Foundation: Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund Celebration

2015 Doc Forum at Center for Doc Studies (Duke University)

2015 Magnum Foundation's PhotoEx Symposium

2015 Citizen Jane Film Festival: Film School & Podcast Chat

2015 Points North Documentary Forum: Live Podcast Event

2015: The New Storytellers at Phi Centre in Montreal

2015 Portland Museum of Art

2015 True/False Film Festival Story Arcade

2015 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival

2014 American Museum of Natural History: Margaret Mead Festival

2014 Magnum Photography Foundation: PhotoEx Symposium

2014 Visions Du Reel i_docs workshop: Nyon, Switzerland

2014 i-Docs Conference: Bristol, United Kingdom

2014 Woodstock Digital Media Festival

2014 Appalachian Studies Conference

2014 Festival du Nouveu Cinema: Montreal, Canada

2013 & 2014 Camden International Film Festival: Points North Doc Forum

2013 New York Film Festival: Convergence

2013 IFP Conference at The Lincoln Center

2013 Future of Storytelling: Story Arcade Exhibit

2012 Harvard's Berkman Center: At The Corner of Hollywood and the Web