Elizabeth Coffman

Elizabeth Coffman is a documentary filmmaker and film scholar. She's published work in Camera Obscura, Journal of Film & Video and other places. Her film work has been broadcast and screened at festivals in Europe and the U.S. Elizabeth maintains messy homes in Chicago and in Tampa, where her two children live with their father during the week, and stay with her on the weekends. Elizabeth and her filmmaking partner have a media production company -- Long Distance Productions.

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Most Recent Articles

March 27, 2013
I attended the Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) this past weekend.  Ken Burns, who was raised in Ann Arbor by a college professor dad, and claims to have seen his “first breasts” on the screen of the Michigan Theatre was also present. The festival is internationally known for showcasing experimental filmmakers such as Andy Warhol, Barbara Hammer and Pat O’Neill, whose work was featured this year. Historical documentaries by Burns, which cover a good swath of American history and are used in educational settings around the globe, are not typically included in the experimental or underground film categories.
March 13, 2013
How often do offspring repeat their parent’s profession?
February 27, 2013
Made you look, huh?  I put “boobs” in the title, knowing that it would draw attention and to make a postmodern point.  Not that I really need to make one, after ‘Mr. Family Guy’, the Academy Awards host, made it for me.
February 6, 2013
On a recent Tuesday it was over 60 degrees before sunrise in Chicago (setting an historic record), while it is dropping to 7 degrees by Friday. I’m not going to list the reasons why we should care about global warming nor the indisputable facts that back it up. (Bill McKibben’s recent article in Rolling Stone magazine does a better job than I ever could.)
January 16, 2013
Well, I successfully dropped off my son Nick for his first day of college. If you’ve been following my column (and his), you will know that my son was a “high school burnout” who took some time off before college.  Discovering that he was bored silly with the minimum wage working world, Nick conceded to apply to a local state school. He moved into a dorm last Sunday and started classes at 8:00 am on Monday (which happens when you register late.)
December 12, 2012
After taking the fall semester off, my son Nick is ready to begin his college life in January at the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg, the "jewel by the bay."  As he reported in this blog, Nick went through a period of distracted, teenage depression — his high school burn out years.  He spent more time on YouTube than Algebra, causing his parents undue worry as they received calls from guidance counselors telling them that Nick was close to not graduating.  
November 14, 2012
I was fortunate to be included in a retirement party for Duke Political Science professor, David L. Paletz, one of the foremost scholars of Political Communication and a jury chair for the Full Frame Documentary Festival in Durham, N.C.  I’ve written about David before in this column -- an inspiring teacher who introduced me to feminism, media critique and a desire to be a filmmaker.
October 31, 2012
I’m not sure if this blog has ever acknowledged how close the emotions attached to raising a pet are to raising children, even though I would venture a guess that there are just as many academics with pets as kids. Universities do, in fact, offer insurance for animals (even before domestic partner benefits), and a $7.6 million donation was recently made in a cat’s name to UC Davis’s School of Veterinary Medicine, but it doesn’t seem politically correct for pet owners to insist that their animals are loved and return affection every bit as much as human dependents. As someone who has raised both, though, I think I can safely say that my cat seems to love me with more dependability than my teenagers.
October 10, 2012
Last weekend I was able to catch up with several Mama Phd friends who live in New York City.  Many of these women are my age, but have (smartly) waited to have children until their careers/degrees/relationships are more established.  Two friends have several tots under ten running around while seeking tenure, publishing books and chairing departments.  I was impressed by how these friends still manage to be turned on by new ideas as much as by their partners.  Indeed, many of these friends have taken motherhood out of their homes and into their research, art and service work.
September 26, 2012
This past weekend I went to the regional tournament for the senior Olympic basketball games in Springfield, Illinois.  My partner, Ted Hardin, is turning 50 this year, which makes him eligible to play.  Teams from Chicago, Evanston and St. Louis showed up at a spacious Gold’s Gym to play in 3-on-3 tournaments.  A fascinating group of players, including a federal judge in her mid-60s, participated.


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