King Coal

Part documentary, part tale, King Coal offers a glimpse into the culture and identity of the Appalachian region, where coal and its mythology reign. We witness the day-to-day lives of its inhabitants, steeped in a charming magical realism that contrasts with the bittersweet reality of their existence. The film captures how the community faces a looming threat in a place that is slowly fading away.


Nominated for an Oscar for her documentary short film Heroin(e), filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon shines a spotlight on the challenges facing her hometown. With a deep dive into the region’s present and past, its rituals, and its dreams, the film received a warm welcome at the Sundance Film Festival. Without veering into political rhetoric or oversimplifying the facts, King Coal masterfully blends drama, comedy, criticism, and fascination. Don’t miss this exceptional film crafted with care and precision.


Year: 2023
Runtime: 80′
Country: USA
Direction: Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Cinematography: Kerrin Sheldon
Genre: Documentary
Subtitles: Ana María Ruiz Matas, Olga Gómez Balduz
Contact: Elijah Stevens

Wins & nominations

2023: Seattle Film Festival – Special Jury Award
2023: Sundance Film Festival
2023: Cleveland Internaional Film Festival – Best film