King Coal

Elaine McMillion Sheldon, USA 2023, 80’
Polish premiere
Caterpillar Richland

The life and death of coal, the king of Appalachia, powerfully impacted the local communities for decades. It is now passing away while leaving no successors or hopes behind. Shown, among others, at the Sundance Film Festival, this lyrical documentary intertwines raw realism with myths and memories of the past.

‘King Coal’ Review: Appalachia Rises in Poetic, Personal Doc from Director of ‘Heroin(e)’ (IndieWire)

Jakub Demiańczuk


  • Minneapolis St. Paul IFF 2023 - Best Documentary (Special Mention)
  • Seattle IFF 2023 - Special Jury Prize
  • Woods Hole FF 2023 - Director’s Award for Cinematography

Elaine McMillion Sheldon

Elaine McMillion Sheldon has been called one of the most respected documentary filmmakers of the young generation. Her films screen at leading documentary film festivals; Heroin(e), Sheldon’s short about the opioid crisis, captured an Emmy Award and an Oscar nomination. She lives in Knoxville and is a lecturer at the University of Tennessee. Sheldon is currently working on a feature-length documentary about Mother Jones, a legendary trade union and social activist. 


2011 Lincoln County Massacre

2013 Hollow: An Interactive Documentary

2013 For Seamus (short)

2015 Forager (short)

2017 Betting on Trump: Coal (short)

2017 Heroin(e) (short)

2017 11/8/16

2018 Chłopaki na odwyku / Recovery Boys

2019 Tutwiler (short)

2023 Król Węgiel / King Coal 

Cast & Crew

director Elaine McMillion Sheldon
screenplay Elaine McMillion Sheldon
cinematography Curren Sheldon
editing Iva Radivojevic
music Bobak Loftipour
producer Dian Becker, Shane Boris, Peggy Drexler, Elaine McMillion Sheldon
production Cottage M, Drexler Films, Fishbowl Films
sales Requisite Media
language English
coloration colour
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