Elaine McMillion Sheldon

Documentary Filmmaker

Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy and Peabody-winning filmmaker. Sheldon is the director of "Heroin(e)" and "Recovery Boys," two Netflix Original Documentaries that explore America's opioid crisis. “Heroin(e)” premiered at the 2017 Telluride Film Festival, was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award, and has screened over 300 times across the country in communities hit hard by the opioid crisis. The LA Times called “Recovery Boys” “sensitive and life-affirming”; the film premiered at the 2018 Hot Docs International Film Festival. Sheldon’s film "Tutwiler" is an intimate look at motherhood inside one of America's most notorious prisons. “Tutwiler” premiered at the 2019 Hot Springs Film Festival, won the audience award at the 2019 New Orleans Film Festival, was chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick, and was shortlisted for the 2020 IDA Short Film Awards. Sheldon has received a Daytime Emmy award, a News & Documentary Emmy award, and three Emmy nominations for her short and interactive documentaries. She’s received two Peabody nominations and one Peabody Award for her interactive documentary “Hollow” (2013), which was also selected for the IDFA Doc Lab. Elaine is a 2021 Creative Capital Fellow, 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, and 2018 USA Fellow by United States Artists. She was named one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film" by Filmmaker Magazine in 2013. Sheldon holds a B.S. in News Editorial Journalism from West Virginia University and a MFA in Visual and Media Art from Emerson College.

Languages Spoken:



Knoxville, TN

Areas of Expertise:

Business & Economy, Climate & Environment, Social Issues, World, Education

A powerful and unforgettable window into the lives of incarcerated pregnant women — and what happens to their newborns.
April 30, 2020
coal's deadly dust
Coal's Deadly Dust
FRONTLINE and NPR investigate the rise of severe black lung disease among coal miners, and the failure to respond.
January 22, 2019
Betting on Trump: Coal
Many coal miners saw the election of Donald Trump as a moment of hope. But what can he actually do to bring back coal jobs?
February 15, 2017