Filmmaker: Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Runtime: 39 min
Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugs — one of hope. Sheldon highlights three women working to change the town’s narrative and break the devastating cycle of drug abuse one person at a time. Fire Chief Jan Rader spends the majority of her days reviving those who have overdosed; Judge Patricia Keller presides over drug court, handing down empathy along with orders; and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry feeds meals to the women selling their bodies for drugs. As America’s opioid crisis threatens to tear communities apart, the Netflix original short documentary Heroin(e) shows how the chain of compassion holds one town together.
About the Filmmaker
Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker. Her work explores universal stories of identity, upheaval, survival, and resilience. Sheldon is the director of “Heroin(e)” a Netflix Original Documentary short that follows three women fighting the opioid crisis in Huntington, West Virginia. “Heroin(e)” was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award. 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 2013 Peabody, 2014 Emmy nomination and 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo Multimedia Awards. In 2016, Chicken & Egg Pictures awarded her with the inaugural “Breakthrough Filmmaker” award. Sheldon was a 2013 Future of Storytelling Fellow and named one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” by Filmmaker Magazine and one of “50 People Changing The South” by Southern Living Magazine. She’s a founding member of All Y’all Southern Documentary Collective. She has been commissioned by Frontline PBS, Center for Investigative Reporting, New York Times Op-Docs, TEDWomen, Field of Vision, Mashable, and The Bitter Southerner. She was recently named a 2018 USA Fellow by United States Artists.