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Upcoming Events: February and March 2016


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





Recent Awards and Honors


Recent Awards and Honors

The past month has been a fun whirlwind of events that I have succinctly distilled for you in six bullet points and one gallery!

  • Hollow won the Excellence and Innovation in Visual Storytelling award at the Online News Association Awards! See Tricia and I accept the award here.
  • Sarah and I have started interviews for She Does podcast (coming in Early 2015).
  • The Hollow team was nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy for the New Approaches in Documentary Category.
  • I taught a workshop at FoST 2014 and met my hero, Robert Krulwich.
  • We won the Innovation Award at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma in Montreal!
  • I spoke at the Magnum Foundation Photo Ex Symposium about Hollow and using film and photography online.


Screenings, Updates and T-Shirts

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Screenings, Updates and T-Shirts

We sold out of the first 100 t-shirts and have ordered more! If you place your order now, expect your t-shirt to arrive in 3-4 weeks.

The Revivalist gives their thoughts on the [app-uh-latch-uh] tees

Luckily, there’s no need to correct anyone’s pronunciation anymore. Just slip into this instructional t-shirt the next time you’ll be around folks who insist on saying Appalachia that other way, and they’ll get the picture pretty darned fast.

MEDIUM: Inside the World Press Photo Multimedia Jury

Including some great tips for storytelling and a mention of HOLLOW

The Hillville writes about [app-uh-latch-uh] t-shirts

For many citizens and natives of Central and Southern Appalachia, watching the meteorologists on the Weather Channel pronounce the name of our mountain range is a cringe-worthy experience: “There’s a storm system making it’s way across the midwest and will hit the Appa-LAY-shun mountains of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.”

HOLLOW will be exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History

The project will be in the Grand Gallery from October 23-26 for the Margaret Mead Film Festival.

HOLLOW is a finalist in the Online Journalism Awards

Winners will be announced in Chicago on September 27.

We moved to Miami!

Just a personal update, Kerrin and I moved to Miami Beach last week. We will be based here through January working on our next documentary and interactive project. More to come! Follow my Instagram for daily snaps.

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Kudzu and Friends in McDowell County

We decided to take a Saturday drive through McDowell to visit with my second family. Ed got to meet baby August and Alan played us his new banjitar. Kudzu has covered nearly everything and more buildings have collapsed. I love that county and the people it holds. McDowell-12



"This baby is made of lead," Ed exclaimed as he struggled to get a grip on August.












Hollow nominated for an Emmy

What?!? This is crazy and exciting. CONGRATS to our whole team and the residents of McDowell County on this HUGE honor.

We are Emmy nominated in the category of New Approaches: Documentaries.

Press Release

Also, don't forget about our screening next week at the US Capitol. Information here.



Hollow named Honoree for Webby Awards


NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Hollow an interactive documentary that explores the issues and future of small-town America, was named as an official honoree in the Community Category in the 18th annual Webby Awards. Established in 1996, the Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. Hollow, which launched June 2013, tells the story of 30 residents living in McDowell County, W.Va., a once-thriving community in Southern West Virginia. The interactive documentary merges cinematic techniques with web-based storytelling to encourage a dialogue about the issues that small-town America faces.

Hollow was created by group of Boston-based designers, editors and developers. The development and post-production team included Elaine McMillion Sheldon (project director and editor), Jeff Soyk (interactive designer and architect), Robert Hall (senior technologist), Russell Goldenburg (interactive developer), Billy Wirasnik (sound designer and editor), Tricia Fulks (associate producer and research), Sarah Ginsburg (editor) and Kerrin Sheldon (editor).

Official Honorees’ work exhibit remarkable achievement that was not selected as a Nominee in the Webby Awards. Out of 12,000 entries submitted from more than 60 countries and all 50 states, the Official Honoree distinction is awarded to only the top 15 percent of all work entered.

Future screenings of the film will be held at Shepherd University (Shepherdstown, W.Va.) on April 11; Wheeling Jesuit University (Wheeling, W.Va.) on April 15; Nyon, Switzerland from April 27 to 29; and Vermont College of Fine Arts (Montpelier, Vt.) from April 30 to May 3.

To experience the interactive documentary, visit

To purchase a DVD, visit

To see a full list of awards and screenings, visit:




Hollow wins 3rd Prize in World Press Photo Multimedia Awards

I am so excited to announce we have won 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo Multimedia Awards in the Interactive Documentary category. It is such an amazing honor to be chosen for this award as an independent filmmaker and journalist. Congrats to the whole Hollow team and McDowell County community. Check out the winning projects here. Below, a jury member reflects on why Hollow was chosen for 3rd Prize:

"Some of the most impressive elements of Hollow are the depth of the content, the richness of the content. The characters that are portrayed are totally believable and I think it's these small stories told in a big's not a large production piece but it has that feeling, it feels very much as if it was created by people who care about the subject that they are documenting." [vimeo 89865336 w=500 h=281]




New Awards & Opportunities for Hollow


Over the past couple days, some pretty cool awards have been announced. Check out the images/links below and thanks to everyone for your continued support of Hollow! HOLLOW is a finalist in the SXSW Interactive Awards in the "Activism" category

Green, governmental and non-profit projects striving to make the world a better place.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.14.43 AM
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.14.43 AM

Congrats to the team (especially to our sound designer, Billy Wirasnik, and music composer, Lee Strauss) for winning two Platinum AVA Digital Awards for Creativity (Web Video)/Original Music and Radio.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.43.03 AM
Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 8.43.03 AM

Hollow is featured for Eastern Oregon's Film Festival's Online Selection.

The rise of digital cinema has shown that 20th Century exhibition models are increasingly insufficient. Cinema is in constant flux, and without adapting to changes in the distribution landscape, most filmmakers cannot survive. We believe that festivals’ inclusion of online works is progressive, and vital to independent cinema. The Internet also serves as a temporary home for some of the more intimate, experimental works that move us.

I have also been invited to lead a discussion and screening at the following places, this spring:



Hollow: Our Lessons Learned, Your Guide to Producing an iDoc


SYNOPSIS Do you have questions about producing an interactive documentary? The makers behind Hollow, an award-winning interactive documentary about small-town America, are holding a live discussion to help you kick off your interactive projects in 2014.

The team will be available to answer questions about Hollow's fundraising and community building model, as well as design and development. Come with questions and be ready to learn from the team's successes and failures.

REMEMBER Google limits 10 people in the "room" at once. So come with questions and then let others in. The entire discussion will be posted on YouTube at 1 pm after the chat ends. After that point, you can reference it, revisit it and post it as you please!


Find us HERE on January 21, 2014 from noon to 1PM (EST).


TEAM MEMBERS IN HANGOUT: Director and Producer - Elaine McMillion Sound Designer - Billy Wirasnik Technical Director and Senior Developer - Robert Hall Art Director/Designer and Architect - Jeff Soyk


MODERATOR: Opeyemi Olukemi - Program Associate, Digital Initiatives at Tribeca Film Institute


HOW WILL IT WORK? When we go "live" there will be a Q&A sidebar on the video. You can post your questions there OR tweet at #hollowdocchat


FESTIVALS: New York Film Festival - 2013 Camden International Film Festival - 2013 Doc Lab at International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam - 2013 Future of Storytelling (featured in the Story Arcade) - 2013


AWARDS: Adobe Creative Edge Award - FWA Site of the Day - FWA Site of the Day - CSS Design Awards Selected for Doc Lab (Hollow was nominated as one of the top 3 projects out of 15 projects) - International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam Research and Documentation Award - National Coal Heritage Foundation


FEATURES AND REVIEWS: LA Times Huffington Post Filmmaker Magazine PBS Media Shift



LA Times:

Filmmaker Elaine McMillion’s project "Hollow: An Interactive Documentary" bridges that gap between the storyteller and the audience. The project is practically a living, breathing thing; viewers can subscribe for updates on individual people. Such connections create insight and understanding.

Huffington Post:

Anyone who saw promise for the future of web-based journalism after watching/reading The New York Times’ highly innovative "Snowfall," will positively be drawn to the work produced at "Hollow." It is next level. Maybe the most magnificently presented, web-aware journalism I’ve ever seen. But more important than the visual achievement is what it does — documenting the lives of people who live in a mostly ignored rural community, far from the traditional media bastions and bubbles.


I can say with confidence (Hollow) wins the Internet for 2013.Beautiful documentary execution of both film and interactive. Put down the #netflix and watch this. #hollerhomeExploring the greater tensions of modern America.Everyone–historians, students, designers, developers–drop everything you’re doing and watch this interactive doc.Hollow, the story of the American 20th century; the opening interaction is worth the price of admission (free) alone.Beautifully arresting. Stereotype-busting. An interactive documentary about people and a community.Hauntingly beautiful web-based storytelling@hollowthefilm is a game changer for interactive storytelling. Stunning!



1 Minute in Appalachia: Video Series


  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.


2013 In Review


2013 In Review

2013 has been an amazing experience. I am extremely grateful to all of you who have supported, shared and helped bring Hollow to life. There is still work to be done, but I can safely look back on 2013 with full satisfaction and gratification. I feel so lucky that we have been invited to screen and present Hollow 23 times in a 5-month period. We have traveled from California to NYC and from Appalachia to Amsterdam. We have won several awards and were most recently chosen for IDFA's DocLab. Nearly 80,000 people all around the world have experienced Hollow online since June 20. We're looking forward to experiencing what 2014 has in store for the team and community. We have several more Kickstarter-backer screenings to hold, but here are some university and conference screenings that are already lined up (starting in January): OSU, Davis & Elkins, Shepherd University, Wheeling Jesuit University, iDocs, Appalachian Studies Conference and Vermont College of Fine Arts.






Hollow was selected for the International Documentary Festival of Amsterdam’s Doc Lab! The project was on display throughout the festival at De Brakke Grond. Out of 15 projects, we were named among the top 3 and nominated for the cash prize. Congrats to Jonathan Harris who won the DocLab award!