Sheila Benson began writing at the Pacific Sun in Mill Valley, California, after which she became the principal Los Angeles Times Film Critic from 1981-91, and following that, a critic for Microsoft's Cinemania. Affiliated with the National Society of Film Critics, she was given the Vesta Award for Journalism in 1987 for her contribution to the arts in Southern California, and taught Critical Writing at UCLA.
She has served on film festival juries of Berlin, Toronto, Chicago, Montreal, Manila, Taos, Seattle, Aspen, Sundance, Palm Springs and Banff. Her reporting and essays have appeared in wide-ranging publications from Interview, Premiere, and Variety to Canada's Globe and Mail and the New York Times.
She wrote the narration for "The First 100 Years, A Celebration of American Film" and the essay for the DVD of Horton Foote's Tomorrow. Since moving to Washington in 1996, she has reviewed for the Seattle Weekly.