February 23: Workshop & Film Screening with Elaine McMillion Sheldon

BOONE, N.C. — The Boone Docs Film Fest and historic Appalachian Theatre of the High Country will host Oscar-nominated filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon for a workshop focused on visual storytelling and documentary ethics, followed by a screening of her documentary “King Coal” and Q&A. 

McMillion Sheldon is an Academy Award-winning and Peabody-winning documentary filmmaker. She has been nominated for six Emmy awards and is a 2021 Creative Capital Awardee, a 2021 Livingston Award Finalist, and a 2020 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. Sheldon is the director of two Netflix Original Documentaries exploring America's opioid crisis: "Heroin(e)" and "Recovery Boys." "Heroin(e)" was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award and won the 2018 News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Documentary. Visit elainemcmillionsheldon.com to learn more about McMillion Sheldon.

Workshop with Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Friday, February 23, 2024, from 1-3 p.m.
Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (559 West King Street, Boone, NC 28607)

The workshop with McMillion Sheldon will be held on February 23 from 1-3 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The workshop will support regional efforts to address extractive storytelling in the South and Appalachia and provide a wider discussion of ethics in documentary filmmaking. McMillion Sheldon offers decades of experience presenting nuanced images of her home region to a national audience.

"King Coal" Screening & Q&A with Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Friday, February 23, 2024, from 7-9 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (559 West King Street, Boone, NC 28607)

McMillion Sheldon's highly-acclaimed documentary “King Coal” will be screened on February 23 at 7 p.m. There will be a Q&A with the filmmaker following the screening. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are appreciated.

A lyrical tapestry of a place and people, “King Coal” meditates on the complex history and future of the coal industry, the communities it has shaped, and the myths it has created. McMillion Sheldon reshapes the boundaries of documentary filmmaking in a spectacularly beautiful and deeply moving immersion into Central Appalachia where coal is not just a resource, but a way of life.

While deeply situated in the communities under the reign of King Coal, where McMillion Sheldon has lived and worked her entire life, the film transcends time and place, emphasizing the ways in which all are connected through an immersive mosaic of belonging, ritual, and imagination. Emerging from the long shadows of the coal mines, “King Coal” untangles the pain from the beauty, and illuminates the innately human capacity for change. The film received support and funding from the Sundance Documentary Institute, Creative Capital, Tribeca Film Institute, Catapult Film Fund, First Look Media, and the West Virginia Humanities Council. Visit kingcoalfilm.com to learn more about "King Coal."

“King Coal is a perfect fit for the festival’s invited program,” said Tom Hansell, professor of Appalachian studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, co-director of AppDocs, and one of the Boone Docs Film Festival organizers. “This award-winning documentary premiered at Sundance in 2023 and is just now starting to tour our region. McMillion Sheldon’s distinct vision uses magical realism to examine Appalachian identity, revealing the complex relationship between image making, popular imagination, and power.” 

The workshop and screening are free and open to the public thanks in part to funding and sponsorship from the Appalachian State University Forum Lecture Series and a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council.


About AppDocs
AppDocs supports documentary work grounded in collaborative local and global partnerships that use photography, film/video, audio, and narrative writing to capture and convey memory, life, research, theory, and culture. AppDocs emphasizes stories from the Appalachian region. Learn more at https://doc.appstate.edu.

About the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies
The Department of Interdisciplinary Studies offers graduate and undergraduate degrees in four program areas: Appalachian studies; gender, women’s and sexuality studies; global studies; and interdisciplinary studies. The department is also home to Watauga Residential College, an interdisciplinary, alternative general education program. The department promotes creative and imaginative engagement through a cross-disciplinary investigation of complex systems and problems. Learn more at https://interdisciplinary.appstate.edu.

About the University Forum Lecture Series
The University Forum Lecture Series brings nationally prominent speakers to campus. Their views enliven campus dialogue on a variety of issues. Past speakers have included activist Gloria Steinem, conservationist Terry Tempest Williams, presidential historian Harold Holzer, CNN correspondent Peter Bergen and award-winning science journalist Carl Zimmer. Learn more at https://universityforum.appstate.edu.

Written by Dr. Beth Davison
Edited by Lauren Gibbs

February 12, 2024

Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Published: Feb 12, 2024 2:00pm