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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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Pressing Pause: Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg Take a She Does Podcast Break

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Pressing Pause: Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburg Take a She Does Podcast Break

One of the best podcasts to launch last year was She Does, a series of audio portraits of women creators across film, music, new media, journalism and more. But in early April, She Does stopped their weekly production of new episodes and, last week, posted what they called “a bit of a different episode.” In “It’s Been a Great Year” (embedded below), Sheldon and Ginsburg discuss their great run of episodes and their decision to step back from their weekly release schedule in order to re-concentrate on their own filmmaking practices. 

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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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Jonathan Franzen on social media, the Internet and smartphones

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Jonathan Franzen on social media, the Internet and smartphones

You gotta LISTEN to Jonathan Franzen on BBC World's Hard Talk

On social media:

"It's rewarding extremism and divisiveness. People find themselves in their own little echo chamber getting ever more extreme versions of what they already believe. It is not fostering complex discourse between opposing views on middle ground."

On smartphones:

"I would feel it somewhat of a failure, as a writer who has some a public stature, if I were not generating criticism. If I were not trying to call attention to things that no one else wants to talk about. And one of the things people don't want to talk about is how incredibly, compulsively addictive the stimulation by our devices is. When you simply mention that fact people, who are spending a lot of time and are more of less captive to their smartphones, they don't enjoy having that pointed out. They will react negatively. They will want to shoot the messenger. So be it. It doesn't mean that I shouldn't say how the world looks to me. I don't see people being happy about these devices in their lives, but they can't get away from them."

 

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You Should Read: Bending the Frame

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You Should Read: Bending the Frame

All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.
— Richard Avedon

Fred Ritchin asks "What do we want from this media revolution?" in "Bending The Frame: Photojournalism, Documentary, and the Citizen."

He takes us through the history of visual storytelling, and reflects on changes in media curation and distribution, including the 24 hours news cycle, the disappearance of the front page, the role of photo editing in dictating what photos get witnessed, stereotypes, and participatory content, among many other topics. 

"Bending The Frame" is a must-read for any media maker who wants to explore the role of images today. 

Below are some excerpts that I'm still thinking about:

Challenging the responsibility of editors: "Images that might provoke new thinking, or that might aid in the search for even a partial solution to societal problems, tend to be displaced by those that are more vividly exotic and render problems as somewhat remote, concerning 'others.'"

The role of journalism has shifted: "Journalistic expertise is disparaged by many as a manifestation more of corporate branding than of knowledge. With reduced budgets, journalism's role becomes increasingly reactive, waiting for the next eruptions; its responsibility as governmental watchdog and societal glue is diminished..." 

The craft of storytelling: "Anyone can write--amateurs and professionals alike--but very few can take us to visit worlds external and internal, tie them together, melding facts and suppositions while creating a narrative flow that functions like a great piece of fiction..."

The importance of having connection and perspective: "Although it is not really possible to see 'objectively,' the tension of being both insider and outsider simultaneously is potentially enormously productive, allowing the open-minded photographer to function along the translucent membrane where the two worlds overlap."

An idea for future media makers: "Why don't we have a more developed photography that explores in some depth the move from pain to it's resolution, creating reference points for those striving to more forward, rather than continually searching for, and dwelling on, the cataclysm--reminding us of traumatic moments for the sake of the visceral shock. Why do so many young photographers want to become photographers of war when nearly every one of them, I have little doubt, prefers peace?"

How small experiments can push an entire field forward: "Innovative visual journalists could be urged to experiment with new media strategies that may be of value not only to readers of this front page, but to the entire documentary field."

Where do we want to go with media? "As we consider where we want to go with our media, we need to think about what models will serve not only our needs but also our values, and then experiment to see how such models can be implemented."

Truly understanding the role of (multi)media: "...Innovators will undoubtedly discover that 'multimedia' is not a process of simply adding more media, but of implicit relationships made resonant among the most divergent of media..."


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Upcoming Events: February and March 2016

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Upcoming Events: February and March 2016

She Does Podcast- Live Recording in Miami

  • When: Feb. 27 at 4-6pm

  • What: Join us for a live recording of the podcast with Almudena Toral, a thought leader in digital journalism. In this intimate conversation, we'll explore Almudena's international multimedia reporting and her goals as the new Creative Visual Manager at Univision. We will also journey into her background, her lightbulb moments and turning points, her philosophies, and what makes her tick. The event will include live music by Inez Barlatier and audience interaction.

  • Where: Deauville Beach Resort: 6701 Collins Avenue Miami, FL

  • Get your ticket here

Lionfish Film Screening & Dinner: Film Gate Interactive

  • When: Feb. 27 at 7:30-9:30
  • What: Screenings of "Lionfish" and "Foraging" films by Elaine & Kerrin Sheldon, along with a lionfish dinner.
  • Where: Deauville Beach Resort: 6701 Collins Avenue Miami, FL
  • Get your ticket here

University of Knoxville: Digital Humanities Speaker Series

  • When: March 24 at 6:00pm
  • Where: Hodges Library Auditorium: 1015 Volunteer Blvd, Knoxville, TN
  • Details here

Appalachian State University: Digital Appalachia Lecture Series

  • When: March 30 at 5:30 pm
  • Where: App State University Library (Room 114 Lecture Hall): 218 College Street, Boone, NC
  • Calendar here

 

 

 

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Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

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Breakthrough Filmmaker Award

I'm so honored and excited to be a recipient of Chicken & Eggs' inaugural "Breakthrough Filmmaker Award." Thanks to all of you who have supported me throughout my career. This award comes at a great time to help support my work moving forward through financing and mentorship.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT:

We are pleased and proud to announce the recipients of our inaugural Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards. The five chosen filmmakers are Kristi Jacobson (A Place at the Table) Julia Reichert (The Last Truck), Yoruba Richen (The New Black), Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow), and Michèle Stephenson (American Promise). This award consists of a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year-long mentorship program tailored to each filmmaker’s individual goals.
The Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award responds to the reality that only a few women non-fiction directors in the U.S. are able to work full-time as independent storytellers. The program recognizes and elevates five mid-career women directors with unique voices who are poised to reach new heights and to continue to be strong filmmaker-advocates for urgent issues.
“Chicken & Egg Pictures continues to make bold investments in both women artists and gender equality to ensure that a greater diversity of voices are acknowledged for their participation in the storytelling that drives change,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures. “Our hope with this new award is to provide support and a platform for these artists to continue showcasing and elevating critical social justice, environmental, and human rights issues and stories while working to increase their visibility and ensure they receive the recognition they deserve.”
Recipients of the Chicken & Egg Pictures Breakthrough Filmmaker Award were chosen through a nation-wide confidential nomination process.

READ OUR BIOS on Chicken & Egg's website

PRESS:

 

 

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11/19/15 Update

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11/19/15 Update

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Panel Discussion on NOVEMBER 21 @ 3:30 PM at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University's 25th Anniversary celebration and national forum.

Description: The storytelling power of audio—with envisioned characters and imagined scenes—presents rich opportunities for innovative approaches to the digital terrain. From the podcasting boom to new forms of interactive documentary, the capacity of sound, voice, writing, and layered narratives to spark the imagination extends outside the box (radio, tablet, smartphone) to reach people where they are and to inspire engagement, and possibly changes of heart.

Panelists: ANAYANSI DIAZ-CORTESAL LETSONELAINE SHELDON
Moderated by: JOHN BIEWEN


DECEMBER 2 @ 1PM: Kickstarter Creators Hangout

I'm answering all your questions about documentary filmmaking, podcasting, and production in this Kickstarter Creators Hangout. The discussion will be live-tweeted through @KickstarterTips

RSVP here


SHE DOES:

This week on She Does, we have the talented co-directors of the fantastic documentary, "Frame by Frame."

DESCRIPTION: Mo Scarpelli and Alexandria Bombach are documentary filmmakers and co-directors of award-winning film "Frame by Frame.” The documentary follows four Afghan photojournalists as they face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own after decades of war and rule under the oppressive Taliban regime. The film had its world premiere at SXSW 2015, has screened over 50 times, garnered several awards, was voted one of the Top 10 Audience Favorites at Hot Docs Film Festival, and is nominated for a Cinema Eye Honors Award for Spotlight Doc. Right now, Mo and Alexandria are knee-deep in an Academy Award campaign for the film. “Frame by Frame” is opening for a week-long run in New York on Nov 20 at the IFC Center.

Mo and Alexandria are extremely self-sufficient women and filmmakers-- both having worked alone on most of their film projects before this one. They both started their own film companies and both have carved out their own niches; Mo in the documentary and journalism world and Alexandria in the outdoor filmmaking world.

In this episode, we talk about how they came to the medium of film, reporting international stories, filming in Afghanistan, their dedication to stunning cinematography, earning the trust of your subjects, the responsibility and weight of releasing stories into the world, holding onto empathy, the perils of co-directing, how to reconnect with relationships after disconnecting to make a film, and how to maintain belonging and community when living out of a suitcase.

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The New Storytellers Conference

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The New Storytellers Conference

I'm super excited to be on a panel about The Future of Journalism and Documentary with Ingrid Kopp, Gabo Arora, and Sarah Wolozin. The New Storytellers conference is being held on September 23 in Montreal at the Phi Centre, in conjuction with the opening of the "Sensory Stories" exhibit. We will be talking about new ways to tell stories and how that influences form and function. 

Join us!

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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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She Does Joins Panoply Podcast Network

Sarah and I are very excited to announce that She Does podcast is officially part of Panoply Network. Panoply is a podcast network that features programs from The New York Times Magazine, Inc. Magazine, New York Magazine, Real Simple, The Huffington Post, WBUR, FX, Slate, and many more leading media brands and thought leaders. We're so honored to be among these talented voices.


Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.16.29 PM
Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.16.29 PM

You will now be able to hear us on Panoply's SoundCloud.

Congrats to our team for all their hard work: Illustrator, Christine Cover. Sound designer, Billy Wirasnik. Production Accomplice, Alijah Case.

You can also find Panoply on iTunesFacebook & Twitter.

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