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

May 20, 2010
I’ve been focused on the tragic, on-going oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: first, because my current documentary is about the erosion of Louisiana’s coastline and the disappearance of bayou cultures. And second, the spill reminds me of my own dependence on oil for long distance commuting to see my kids in Florida.
May 6, 2010
I attended an inspiring conversation with filmmaker Mira Nair recently at Columbia College Chicago. Nair spoke about how she arranges her production schedule around her son’s vacation calendar. "Monsoon Wedding" was not scheduled for a 30-day summer shoot to align with the rainy season as much as with son Zohran’s vacation from school.
April 21, 2010
April 22, 1970 was the first Earth Day. Millions of people hit the streets. Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” had started a movement that left a big impact (convincing Richard Nixon to respond with the EPA) but the movement lost steam and shriveled under Reagan.
April 8, 2010
Geez. There ain’t no denying it. Forty-five is middle-aged. Actually it’s beyond middle-aged. I’ll be darn lucky to make it to ninety (or to pay off my mortgages by then). Still, I count my blessings for making it this far, and I bought tickets to an appropriate birthday play as a reward.
March 25, 2010
Enough work has been done in the field of “happiness” to award it with an academic designation as an enigmatic new field of study.
March 10, 2010
March 8th was International Women’s Day (IWD), which seems appropriate after watching Kathryn Bigelow make Oscar history last weekend (rock on …). The IWD celebrations first started in 1910-11 and were recognized by the United Nations in 1975. Many countries around the world — China, Russia, Vietnam (not the U.S.)--celebrate IWD as a national holiday. Not surprisingly, Nicholas Kristof’s N.Y.
February 24, 2010
I hesitated to write on this topic because of the pain all of the affected families feel right now, including Amy Bishop’s. Unlike Libby Gruner’s reaction to the Bishop case -- “how unusual…for a woman on the tenure-track to have that many children” (perhaps my second thought…) -- my first reaction came after hearing that Bishop had shot her chair as well as other faculty members at a department meeting. (I’ve served as department chair at two universities for over a decade).
February 11, 2010
The reviews of Avatar are in — the CGI effects are incredible, the motion captured acting is solid, but the story is mediocre and tends to repeat the Hollywood myth of the ‘white man as savior of indigenous people’ (a la Dances with Wolves).
January 27, 2010
It’s a humbling experience when you realize that, yes indeed, you are one of those over-educated Americans who can be taken in by an email that asks you for credit card information or by a telemarketing voice that promises to lower your interest rates if you will just provide them with your card number and zip code.
January 13, 2010
One reason I’ve endured the long distance challenges of a commuting lifestyle for so long is the flexibility academic life offers for travel, research and interpersonal ‘reconnecting’ during school breaks. This holiday I’ve managed to do a satisfying bit in all three of these areas: --Long conversations with my sisters and my teenage daughter Katie, which included forgotten details about high school boyfriends and my misbegotten behavior. --Editing and screening a ‘rough cut’ of my current film project with friends and colleagues.

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