King Coal Director Elaine McMillion Sheldon Talks Exploring the Complicated Past and Future of the Fossil Fuel in This Interview

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On this episode, Andrew chats with Appalachian filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon about her new documentary King Coal. Told in an intimate and reflective manner, King Coal details the history of the all powerful fossil fuel in Appalachia, stretching back in time to the foundation of the mining region and utilising the imagery of the coal miner’s daughter to explore the myth and dominance that the black rock has on the region.

King Coal never condemns those who have worked in and relied on the mining industry as a source of income or stability, with Elaine’s supportive narration being one that highlights the importance that coal once held for those in the region, while also spotlighting the need to navigate a path out of relying on it. It’s with the focus on two young girls who grow up in the region that we follow this tale of coal and the almost fanatical adoration that people in the region still hold onto it. There’s a touch of fantastical realism to King Coal which is amplified by the stunning cinematography that reinforces just how nourishing nature can be.

In this interview, recorded ahead of King Coal’s national release in America, Elaine talks about the need to explore the story of coal in a tender manner, the importance of telling it from her own lived experience, as well as the vision of hope that it gives at its end.

King Coal is screening across America from August 11th in New York, with further screenings:

New York City – August 11th @ DCTV Theater
Winston-Salem, NC – August 18th @ Aperture Cinema
Charleston, WV – August 31st @ Floralee Cinema
Akron, OH – September 1st @ The NightLight
Cincinnati, OH – September 4th @ The Woodward Theater
Columbus, OH – September 8th @ Wexner Center for the Arts
Queens, NY – September 9th @ Museum of the Moving Image
Blacksburg, VA – September 21st @ Lyric Theater
Bluefield, WV – September 22nd @The Granada Theater

Andrew F Peirce

Andrew is passionate about Australian cinema, Australian politics, Australian culture, and Australia in general. Found regularly talking online about Sweet Country, and reminding people to watch Young Adult.

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