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

August 24, 2011
I took my daughter Katie to England and France for her 16th birthday last week, paid for by my summer teaching income. I have a sister who lives outside of Oxford, so my family kept close tabs on the recent riots in the U.K., both to avoid them and (the journalist in me) -- to investigate them a bit.
August 3, 2011
My sister Emily, a young mother with lots of experience in post-war conflict resolution, moved to Afghanistan last week for her new job with USAID. She is stationed on a base in a sterile, metal container or “hooch” as they call it. A posting to a war zone is required to extend her position and reemployment (somewhat similar to gaining tenure…). The war zone experience will guarantee housing and international locations for her family for the duration of her State department career.
July 20, 2011
I've been wondering how to keep spirituality in a family that does not choose a particular faith...?
July 6, 2011
MIT economist David Autor stated in a recent New York Times article about the challenging labor market, “Sending more young Americans to college is not a panacea,” but “not sending them to college would be a disaster.” College degrees guarantee a significant increase in income and a decrease in unemployment for young people. Full time workers with undergraduate degrees make 83% more than workers with only a high school diploma.
June 8, 2011
Since my semester in Chicago has ended, I’ve been in Florida while my teenagers finish their last week of school. My son needs to excel on his final exams in order to receive grades higher than a ‘D’ in several classes for which he has lacked the ‘appropriate’ motivation to participate. His father and I (both educators) are mystified by Nick’s lack of concern for his grades. We suddenly don’t quite recognize our son.
May 26, 2011
In a tough economy, environmental issues are often at the bottom of the political totem pole. Tea party ideology is not very conducive to regulations that curb corporate power nor to taxes that restore the wetlands. No wonder we look to the good will of the wealthy for solutions. Similar to the ways in which the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is addressing health, technology and educational issues around the globe, the Rockefellers and their foundation are working to save the environment.
May 11, 2011
I considered not writing a column today because I have to finish my grading. (Let me repeat — I HAVE TO FINISH MY GRADING) Then I read Dana’s Mama, Phd column, which inspired me to at least write something about my situation. Let me start with a quick list:
April 27, 2011
Todd Haynes’s adaptation of Hollywood noir writer James M. Cain’s novel, Mildred Pierce (1941), premiered on HBO recently. Kate Winslet stars in the title role, originally played by Joan Crawford in the 1945 film adaptation. Crawford won the Oscar for portraying a Depression-era single mom, a ‘grass’ widow, driven to feed and nurture her enormously ungrateful daughter, Veda by whatever means possible. I never identified with Crawford’s slightly melodramatic depiction, but Winslet’s performance of the sacrificial mom struck a nerve with me.
April 14, 2011
I have spent the last few days in Vegas as part of an invited group of faculty at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, an annual event that features the latest, greatest technologies for film, television and virtual spaces. NAB is held at the same time as the annual conference for the Broadcast Education Association (BEA). Faculty browse Sony or Panasonic equipment during breaks from panels about YouTube use in China or the large number of women playing online games now.
March 31, 2011
Talk about long distance parenting…

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