SUTTON, W.Va. – Three nominees are in the running for the West Virginia FILMmaker of the Year Award. The 2018 nominees are: Diane Sole, proprietor of MotionMasters, Inc.; Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker; and Deborah Novak, Emmy winning documentary filmmaker.
The award will be presented at the awards reception of the 19th annual West Virginia FILMmakers Festival’s on Sunday, October 7, at 4:30pm at the Landmark Studio for the Arts in Sutton.
The West Virginia FILMmaker of the Year Award is a lifetime achievement award, which goes to the filmmaker whose most recent work or lifetime work has had the utmost effects on the West Virginia film industry. The West Virginia FILMmakers Festival Board of Directors oversees the selection. The nomination committee consists of previous award recipients and the festival board to arrive at the broadest consensus possible.
Diana Sole proprietor of MotionMasters, Inc. in Charleston. Ms. Sole has been producing creative and original productions for more than 30 years. She is the recipient of an Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young and was selected as a Who’s Who in WV Business from the State Journal. A multi-faceted company, Ms. Sole has produced hundreds of productions that both entertain and educate – from commercials and educational videos to documentaries and other long-form videos. Ms. Sole’s latest work, which will be released in the near future, is “Outlier: The Story of Katherine Johnson,” a former research mathematician for NASA. Johnson was one of the subjects featured in the motion picture “Hidden Figures” and is a native of White Sulphur Springs, WV. MotionMasters was the first WV-based company to snag a cable network contract to create original content for the Fido-TV channel for a multi-episode series called, “Which Woof’s for You?”, which is broadcast through the DISH network. Some of her other prominent documentaries include: “The Soul of the Senate” (about Senator Robert C. Byrd), “A Principled Man” (about Rev. Leon Sullivan), and “A Moving Monument” (about the WV State Capitol). Her companies’ educational videos are distributed around the globe and delivers content that’s clear, innovative, and entertaining for students and lifelong learners. Ms. Sole, who celebrates her 30th anniversary in film production this year, is the perfect recipient to receive the FILMmaker of the Year Award.
Elaine McMillion Sheldon is an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker based in West Virginia. Her work explores universal stories of identity, roots, survival, resilience, and hope. Sheldon is the director of “Heroin(e)” a Netflix Original Documentary short that follows three women fighting the opioid crisis in Huntington, West Virginia. “Heroin(e)” was nominated for a 2018 Academy Award.
She recently released her feature documentary, “Recovery Boys,” which documents the lives of four men working to transform their lives after years of addiction. The film is also a Netflix Original Documentary.
Sheldon has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Anthony Bourdain’s CNN Show Parts Unknown and Meet The Press with Chuck Todd. She was recently named a 2018 USA Fellow by United States Artists.
In 2013, she released “Hollow,” an interactive documentary that examines the future of rural America through the eyes and voices of West Virginians. Hollow received a Peabody, Emmy nomination and 3rd Prize in the World Press Photo Multimedia Awards. 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” by Filmmaker Magazine and one of “50 People Changing The South” by Southern Living Magazine. She’s a founding member of All Y’all Southern Documentary Collective. She has been commissioned by Frontline PBS, PBS NewsHour, Center for Investigative Reporting, New York Times Op-Docs, TEDWomen, People Magazine, Lifetime, Field of Vision, Mashable, The Washington Post, and The Bitter Southerner.
Deborah Novak has written, directed, and appeared in over a thousand productions in theater, film, and television. She has won three Emmy Awards for her PBS documentaries, has written three plays which were produced in New York, authored books, journal articles, and published a textbook on musical theater. In addition, she holds a B.F.A. in music composition from Marshall University, and is a member of the flute quartet, SONORITE.
Deborah graduated summa cum laude from New York University, receiving both a B.A. and M.A. in film and theater. Along with Kim Pauley, she has studied ballet with Leon Danelian, Patricia Wilde, Nenette Charisse, Radenko Pavlovich and Finis Jhung. Ms. Novak has performed recently with the Charleston Ballet in productions of LA BAYADERE, SWAN LAKE, NUTCRACKER, the WV Dance Festival and several Bollywood and Carnival fundraising events.
Previous FILMmaker of the Year winners include: Larry Dowling (2017); Chip Hitchock (2016); Jacob Young (2015); Lawrence Cumbo (2014); John Nakashima (2013); Bob Gates, deceased (2012); Robert Tinnell (2011); Mari-Lynn Evans (2010); Russ Barbour (2009); Steve Gilliland (2008); C. Shawn Bennett (2007); Gerry Milnes (2006); B.J. Gudmundsson (2005); Raymond Schmitt, deceased (2004); and Daniel Boyd (2003).
The FILMmaker of the Year Award, since its inception, has designed by artist Bill Hopen (www.billhopen.com).
Schedule, hotel accommodations and festival information available at: www.wvfilmmakersfestival.org. Purchase tickets at: https://filmfreeway.com/WVFILMmakersFestival/tickets