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Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker based in West Virginia. Her work explores universal stories of identity, roots, survival, resilience, and hope. Sheldon is the director of "Heroin(e)" a Netflix Original Documentary short that follows three women fighting the opioid crisis in Huntington, West Virginia. "Heroin(e)" was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award and won the 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary.

She recently released her feature documentary, "Recovery Boys," which documents the lives of four men working to transform their lives after years of addiction. The film is also a Netflix Original Documentary.

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.

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. In 2016, Chicken & Egg Pictures awarded her with the inaugural "Breakthrough Filmmaker" award. Sheldon was a 2013 Future of Storytelling Fellow, and named one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine and one of "50 People Changing The South" by Southern Living Magazine. She's a founding member of All Y'all Southern Documentary Collective. She has been commissioned by Frontline PBS, PBS NewsHour, Center for Investigative Reporting, New York Times Op-Docs, TEDWomen, People Magazine, Lifetime, Field of Vision, Mashable, The Washington Post, and The Bitter Southerner.


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


MFA, Visual & Media Art: Emerson College

BS, News Editorial Journalism: West Virginia University



2018 USA Fellow

2018 Cinema Eye Awards Nomination: Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking

2016 ADC Young Gun

2016 Communicator Award of Excellence from The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts for "She Does" Podcast

2016 Chicken & Egg's Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

2015 AIR New Voices Scholars

2014 3rd Prize for the World Press Photo Interactive Documentary Award

2014 Emmy Nominee in New Approaches for Documentary

2013 Peabody Award

2013 Fellow at Future of Storytelling

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