Emmy award winning, Oscar nominated documentary filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon and I sat down in the lobby of Marshall's theater during a screening of her newest feature length film, Recovery Boys. Sure, we talk about the deep stuff, like the ethics of making a film about real people and the need for Appalachian storytellers. We also giggle about red carpet fashion, which celebrity she scared off during a pre-party, and whether she can make a better music video than Drake (yes).
Her latest project to drop is linked below. You can find Recovery Boys and Heroin(e) on Netflix. Maybe you've heard of it?
Opening jingle by Sarah J. Storer; graphic design by Kristin J. Steele; production and technical assistance by Kelley Altizer and Brian Tischler. "(If You Were) In My Movie" by Suzanne Vega (fair use) closes out the show.
John Prine "Summer's End" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXbEFTv9zr0
Heroin(e) focuses on the once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia. Huntington 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. Director Elaine McMillion Sheldon is a Peabody Award winning, Emmy nominated filmmaker and now Oscar nominated from West Virginia. HEROIN(E) was produced in association with the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), as part of a new initiative to support women filmmakers. 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" in 2013 by Filmmaker Magazine and one of "50 People Changing The South" in 2015 by Southern Living Magazine. She has also contributed several shorts to The New York Times Op-Docs. She joins us to talk about her clear-eyed, bracing film that shines a bright and intimate light on an epidemic that is destroying large swaths of American society.
For news and updates go to: heroinethefilm.com
* 2018 Oscar nominated Documentary Short Program
Lynsey Addario is an award-winning American photojournalist who contributes regularly to The New York Times, National Geographic, and Time Magazine. She’s documented both headline news and intimate stories all around the word. In Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Libya she has given us an up-close view of war and revolution. She’s brought us stories of Maternal Mortality in Sierra Leone, sexual assault in Madagascar, rape in the DRC, heroin addiction in Afghanistan, and life before and after the Taliban. Her memoir, titled “It’s What I Do" recounts over 20 years of becoming one of our most renowned photojournalists. It was acquired by Warner Brothers and Steven Spielberg is expected to direct the film. Jennifer Lawrence has been cast to portray Lynsey - and we talk about that in this episode.Also in this episode, we also talk about courage on the front lines, the risks and trauma associated with her work, respecting cultures that aren’t her own, how she makes a living and how she manages her time.Related LINKS:Lynsey's Website,Follow her on Twitter and InstagramNew York Times: "What Can a Pregnant Photojournalist Cover? Everything"National Geographic AssignmentsBuy your copy of "It's What I Do"
“I still think of myself as that same person who is struggling to get assignments. I firmly believe in life it’s important to not be too comfortable and confident. I think you have to have some degree of hunger. I want to keep pushing myself to be a better person and photographer. ”
— Lynsey Addario
Sabaah Folayan is an activist and storyteller who illuminates the humanity, resilience and beauty in the struggle of communities as they mobilize and fight for justice. She merged her dedication to human rights and a newfound passion for film with Whose Streets?, a feature documentary chronicling the experience of Ferguson community members after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Sabaah and her co-director Damon Davis are premiering Whose Streets? at Sundance 2017, but this episode’s conversation took place in October of 2015, when Sabaah was still in the depths of production and stepped away to pitch the film at Camden International Film Festival’s Points North Forum in Maine. We talk with Sabaah about moving to Ferguson, working to understand the complexities of the situation amongst a sea of sensational headlines, the unique education she had between living off the land in Hawaii and living in divergent Los Angeles neighborhoods, and the forever valuable lesson she learned as a basketball player, “Everything you do is practice for the next time you do it.” The music in this episode is off Velvet and Bone, a new album by a past MusicMaker, Stag Hare.
MUSIC in this episode is off a new album titled Velvet and Bone by past She Does MusicMaker and friend, Stag Hare. Willow (formerly Zara) is the MusicMaker behind Stag Hare and was featured in Episode 22.5. Listen to and buy her music via Bandcamp and visit her website and Facebook.
“Space has been so privatized. We’ve been so socialized to be individuals and be on our own and our lives are our own little bubbles. I think that it was such a relief for people to just lock arms and say that ‘I’m feeling this too.’”
Related LINKS:Sabaah's Website, Blog & TwitterWhose Streets? Documentary Website & TwitterWhose Streets? Sundance 2017 Screening DatesSabaah and co-director Damon Davis as Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2016She Does: Race & Media live conversation at CIFF 2015 featuring Sabaah Folayan, Shayla Harris and Alex Hannibal CLIPS used in show: Riot Footage From Inside The Battle of Ferguson Ferguson Shooting 2015Startling cell phone video from Michael Brown shooting sceneCREDITS:Produced by Sarah Ginsburg & Elaine SheldonSound design by Billy WirasnikIllustration by Christine Cover