King Coal

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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. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Elaine 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, 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."


Filmmaker Biographies

Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Director / Producer / Co-Editor) is an Academy Award-nominated, and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker. Sheldon is the director of two Netflix Original Documentaries - HEROIN(E) and RECOVERY BOYS- that explore America's opioid crisis. She has been named a Creative Capital Awardee, Guggenheim Fellow, a USA Fellow by United States Artists, and one of the "25 New Faces of Independent Film,” by Filmmaker Magazine. Her latest film, KING COAL, premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. McMillion Sheldon was raised in West Virginia and lives in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Molly Born (Co-Producer) is a journalist and producer based in West Virginia working across several forms of media. Molly was associate producer on the U.S. team behind the IDA award-winning Netflix series My Love, and she did archival research for the documentary Plan C. As a reporter, she has been twice named a finalist for the Livingston Award and was one of the first Report for America fellows in 2018. Her print work has been featured in several outlets, including The Washington Post, Southerly, and GroundTruth, and a limited-run podcast she produced during the early days of Covid-19 was written up in The New York Times and featured on NPR One.



Kentucky - Tennessee Circuit

Wednesday, April 10, 2024 - Lexington, KY - The Living Arts & Science Center with Molly Born (Co-Producer)
Thursday, April 11, 2024 - Bowling Green, KY - Western Kentucky University with Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Director / Producer / Co-Editor)
Friday, April 12, 2024 - Nashville, TN - Global Education Center with Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Director / Producer / Co-Editor)