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Filming for "11-8-16"

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Filming for "11-8-16"

I'm excited to be one of many filmmakers who will be documenting America this Election Day for a new documentary tentatively titled, "11-8-16." We're spread across the country filming in all corners with Americans from all walks of life. I will spend my day (starting at 4:30 am) with a coal miner named Eric. I'll go underground with him all day, then follow him to the voting booth and back home to see the results.

Check out the film's website and this article about it.

Also, we will be Periscoping during the day. So follow that here.

 

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TEDWomen Short Film

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TEDWomen Short Film

 A still from my latest short film, "The Experience of Time," which premieres at the 2016 TEDWomen conference in San Francisco.

A still from my latest short film, "The Experience of Time," which premieres at the 2016 TEDWomen conference in San Francisco.

I'm honored to have made a short film for the TEDWomen Conference. My 2-minute short film centers around human's obsession with controlling, tracking and using time "wisely" throughout history. It's a mix of doc footage, archival video, animation by Coat Of Arms Post production, and music by Colleen. Lifetime will distribute the films online after the TEDWomen conference.  

READ MORE:

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Changing the narrative of the news in the Mountain State

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Changing the narrative of the news in the Mountain State

 Dave Mistich, digital editor at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and Elaine McMillion Sheldon, a documentarian and media artist, sit in a “Readership ReMixed” session focused on the way new generations find and consume news at WVU Reed College of Media Innovation Center. 

Dave Mistich, digital editor at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and Elaine McMillion Sheldon, a documentarian and media artist, sit in a “Readership ReMixed” session focused on the way new generations find and consume news at WVU Reed College of Media Innovation Center. 

Read this great article about the #NewStoryWV event. Thanks to the Charleston Gazette-Mail for quoting my thoughts on long-form and "positive" and "negative" coverage in the media:

Asked what she was doing currently to “change the narrative” and what new stories she was working on, she outlined her new project inspired by West Virginia’s opioid epidemic.
“Right now, I am producing a film about four guys in recovery from heroin,” she said. “When I say I’m making a film about the opioid epidemic, I get a lot of eye rolls. And that’s unfortunate because I actually think these guys can teach everyone in this room a lot. They’re a lot like the state — they’ve hit rock bottom in a lot of ways, and they’ve seen a lot of hard times and now they are building themselves back up and becoming a new person.
“So, I hope that that story is one that will bring a different type of conversation around addiction and how we got ourselves into this problem. Let’s stop saying this is purely negative because when we say that’s a purely negative story, we’re quantifying those stories as unimportant, that we shouldn’t be telling those stories and those people already feel silenced. So let’s not do that.”

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"Rescue Breath" chosen for BritDoc's Good Pitch NYC event

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"Rescue Breath" chosen for BritDoc's Good Pitch NYC event

We're so excited to take "Rescue Breath" to BritDoc's Good Pitch NYC! Read more here.

Logline: When his son holds up a bank while high on heroin, a successful doctor who re-invented the urgent care system is forced out of retirement to battle the opioid epidemic that has swept through his home state of West Virginia. Now with his son's future in the balance, can he save hundreds of lives and families from a similar fate and change how we treat addiction in America?

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Creatives in Appalachia

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Creatives in Appalachia

Do you make media and/or art? Do you live in Appalachia? 

If you answered yes to those questions, you should get on a new database of makers in the region. I'm creating a list of those of us who make media in the region, in hopes that we can start collaborating and make better work! If you want your name to be featured on the list get in touch below.

For the sake of keeping things less complicated, I'm looking for folks who do: video, film, editing, writing, animation, design, illustration, photography, interactive media, technology, audio, journalism, music, exhibitions, installation art, etc.

IMPORTANT: You have to make work from or about Appalachia. You must be interested in collaboration and not just self-promotion.

Not sure if your city/town is in Appalachia? Check out this map courtesy of Looking at Appalachia.

 

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Color Inspiration: Take 1

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Color Inspiration: Take 1

I love searching for interesting color palettes, typefaces and designs from the past. And I'm always snapping photos of things that catch my eye, so I've decided to share some of my favorites here...with you. Many more to come.

Enjoy and stay tuned.

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Kentucky Hemp

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Kentucky Hemp

I'm currently in-production on a new documentary project focusing on the farmers, researchers, politicians and business men and women that are reintroducing hemp back into Kentucky's (post-coal and tobacco) economy. It's a super exciting story to follow and watch the industry unfold. Kentucky's history with hemp is deep-rooted, but our nation's relationship is complicated. I will have more to share in late June, but follow me on Instagram for occasional field updates.

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Just Launched: Disaster Resilience Journal

In collaboration with Helios Design Labs and the Red Cross EU, we bring you The DISASTER RESILIENCE JOURNAL. Over the next 42 days, we will bring you stories from people all across the world. Stories of the natural disasters people face and the steps they are taking to overcome them. Some of these stories are photos and text, while others are video-driven. Micro-games allow you to simulate preparing for a disaster and interviews with experts provide insight into resilience.  We just launched the journal today, but the fun begins tomorrow as new stories and games appear daily. Make sure to check out the site everyday to watch the stories unfold (some of my favorite stories and game wont appear until 20 days in!) To learn more about the project and see "my favorites" list click here.  To read about our process check out Mike Robbin's post on the Helios blog.

Join us for this 42-day journey!

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Story & Heart has launched!

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Story & Heart has launched!

Two months ago I stumbled onto Story & Heart on Twitter. It was marketed (very quietly) as a story-driven stock footage site. As a filmmaker and journalist, who is constantly documenting life, I was thrilled. The idea that I could potentially make money off of work that may never see the light of day was intriguing.  I quickly applied and was accepted. Yesterday, Story & Heart went live. Now anyone can license my footage for their project.

I'm excited to see how S&H grows, but mostly I am thankful for the people behind it who have been so personal and generous during the process of building this filmmaking community. Holding weekly online meet-ups and putting together beautifully crafted and informational PDFs with guest filmmakers are just some of the reasons I feel lucky to be part of this community. The first time I received a phone call from S&H, I was shocked. Wait...they actually care about how I am progressing with creating my profile and uploading stories? It was pretty awesome to have such personal connection in a world full of generic contact forms and unanswered emails.

Also, now as a member of S&H I think about how to spend my downtime a little differently. Why waste time in front of my computer when there is a great, big world out there just full of stories waiting to be captured? The biggest drawback for me is talent releases. I have shot well over 15 TB of great footage that would be fantastic on the platform but because this is a licensing platform, I must have releases for all individuals who appear in the footage. For most of my footage, this is nearly impossible. So far, I have only uploaded five stories so far but plan to kick it in high-gear over the next few months!

Thanks Story & Heart for being so cool.

Also, check out my niece (with sparklers) in S&H's launch video: [vimeo 103090147 w=759 h=427]

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New Short Film and Photos: The Marijuana Divide

 I traveled to Gunnison County, Colo., to make this video about two towns that had taken different paths since medicinal marijuana was legalized in 2000 and recreational marijuana sales began this year. One, Crested Butte, has embraced the sale of retail and medicinal marijuana; the other, Gunnison, has so far rejected it. (While anyone in the state over 21 is free to use the drug on private property, it’s up to local governments to decide whether it can be sold.)

I spoke with a wide cross section of people – including politicians, educators, store owners, police officers and two guys who hope to strike it rich in the legal marijuana trade. Yet I found it surprisingly challenging to find someone to speak for the oppositional side. Many told me this was because marijuana was not a new recreational drug to the state; Colorado and weed have a long history, they said. Others said, “It’s just not that big of a deal.” I called an individual who was deep-rooted in the ranching community who said that finding ranchers to talk about it would be nearly impossible. They were “not in favor” of the new laws but weren’t comfortable talking about this to journalists.

Yet I did find a sense of caution: concerns about access for youth, proper labeling and fair taxation. And one thing everybody agrees on is that this new legislation is a huge experiment.

LINKS:

 

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W.Va. Water Woes Continue

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W.Va. Water Woes Continue

Synopsis: 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.

I produced this piece for the Charleston Daily Mail on Friday. If you need caught up on what has been happening in West Virginia, during the past 36 hours, take some time to watch the video.

 

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1 Minute in Appalachia: Video Series

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  Over the next couple months I will be adding to a series of microshort films (1-2 minutes) that focus on observing life in Appalachia. The footage from the series was shot in 2012 while I was filming for Hollow, an interactive documentary about the residents of McDowell County, West Virginia. From May to September, I filmed seven terabytes of footage in the coalfields.

Many of the interesting moments and awesome people I met did not make it into the interactive doc so I'm happy to find a new home for these people and places in this series. You can expect to observe church services, front-porch haircuts, residents wandering through abandoned buildings, riding on golf carts with the elderly, tent revivals and moments at home. I am very excited to share some of these slices of life with you.

You can view the first five shorts and read my artist statement here. Enjoy and stay tuned.

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Pick up a copy of NYT Magazine!

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Pick up a copy of NYT Magazine!

The five short films commissioned (including our film, "For Seamus") by the NYT magazine for "The Lives They Lived" issue are featured in the most recent issue and online at nytimes.com/magazine.

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New Short Film: "FOR SEAMUS"

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New Short Film: "FOR SEAMUS"

Our short film, FOR SEAMUS, has launched today on The New York Times. The film celebrates the life and work of Ireland's most famous contemporary poet, Seamus Heaney. It was commissioned by NYT Op-Docs and NYT Magazine for "The Lives They Lived" series, along with four other films. See them all here.

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New Production

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New Production

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For the past couple days (and through next Sunday) Kerrin and I are spending time searching for legacy of Seamus Heaney, an Irish poet who recently passed away. Heaney’s impact on his home country is quite astounding and we have been lucky enough to meet some great young poets and friends from his hometown, so far.

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