McElwee has made ten feature-length documentaries as well as a number of shorter films. Sherman’s March has won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Sherman’s March was also chosen for preservation by the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2000 as a “historically signiﬁcant American motion picture.” Bright Leaves premiered at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight and was nominated for Best Documentary by both the Director’s Guild of America and the Writer’s Guild of America. McElwee's In Paraguay premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2008, and he returned to Venice in 2011 to premiere Photographic Memory.
In 2005, complete retrospectives of McElwee’s films were presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and later in Paris, Brussels, Milan, Lisbon, New Zealand, Seoul, Quito, and Nyon, Switzerland. Four of his films were featured in a selection of western documentaries shown for the first time in Tehran, and in 2015, McElwee presented his films in Changchun, Guangzhou, and Beijing, China.
McElwee has received fellowships and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Film Institute, the LEF Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. McElwee received the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival’s Career Award in 2007. He is currently at work on a documentary about the cable television remake of Sherman’s March.
Image: still from current work in progress, 2015.
mcelwee [at] fas.harvard.edu