Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an Academy Award-nominated, and Emmy and Peabody-winning documentary filmmaker based in Appalachia. She is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow. Sheldon is the director of two Netflix Original Documentaries – “Heroin(e)” and “Recovery Boys” – that explore America’s opioid crisis. “Heroin(e)” was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award and won the 2018 Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary.
In May 2020, she released “Tutwiler,” a rare and intimate look at motherhood inside one of America’s most notorious prisons. “Tutwiler,” a collaboration with The Marshall Project and PBS Frontline, raises questions about how our nation is handling the growing crisis of incarcerated pregnant women, and what happens to their newborns. 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. She was named a 2018 USA Fellow by United States Artists, one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine, and one of “50 People Changing The South” by Southern Living Magazine. In 2016, Chicken & Egg Pictures awarded her with the inaugural “Breakthrough Filmmaker” award. She has been commissioned by Netflix, Frontline PBS, The Center for Investigative Reporting, The New York Times Op-Docs, TEDWomen, Field of Vision, and The Bitter Southerner.
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’s a co-founding member – with Darcy McKinnon – of All Y’all Southern Documentary Collective. She lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with her husband, filmmaker, Curren Sheldon.