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

December 16, 2009
What does ‘home for the holidays’ mean when you aren’t really sure where your home is located? Marc Auge’s book, Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, begins with a description of a man driving to an airport, parking in “row J of underground level 2,” getting his boarding pass, leafing through magazines, and pleasantly boarding his flight. On the plane he leafs through more magazines, puts on earphones and enjoys the fact that he is “alone at last.”
December 2, 2009
“I am woman hear me snore.” I still own the cover to Helen Reddy’s much beloved 1972 album “I am Woman.” I remember singing the lines loudly with my sisters: “I am woman, hear me roar! In numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back and pretend…”
November 5, 2009
Maybe it’s because it was just Halloween, but, for some reason, zombies seem to have surrounded me recently. My fourteen year-old daughter Katie wanted to go see Zombieland weekend before last. I voted for Amelia, thinking that would provide her with a more positive role model — “She just got into a plane and decided to fly it!” But a need for good humor, Katie’s desire for sleep, and her brother’s educational crisis won out over both choices.
October 22, 2009
A lot can be said about the ‘challenges’ of Facebook, but one of the great things about social media is that it puts you back in touch with old, college friends. (By ‘old’ I mean friends who attended college more than 20 years ago.) In a weird coincidence, I had two of my former undergraduate roommates come through Chicago during the past week.
October 8, 2009
Temperatures are on the rise as funds are sinking fast for college tuition.
September 23, 2009
There’s no denying it. The school year is in full gear now. Labor Day has passed. October is coming. My heart breaks every year in September at the reality of resuming my twice a month commute to see my kids in Florida. Since my teenagers are starting to think about colleges soon, I recognize how precious the remaining days are for us to share dinner together, or for me to challenge my son about not mowing the grass or my daughter for emptying her closet onto her floor. I already miss these complaints!
September 10, 2009
Why is birth control an expensive, hot potato issue for the national health care debate and barely mentioned as an environmental problem? My own health issues have led me to new levels of outrage that our government, religious institutions and medical scientists can’t seem to figure reproductive politics out a little better for women or the environment. Haven’t we got the picture yet? We’re outgrowing the planet!
August 27, 2009
If you are a gourmand, then I assume you’ve seen Julie and Julia, the new film about quirky TV chef, Julia Child, and the blogger who tackled 524 recipes in 365 days from Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julie Powell. Everyone in my food-loving family saw the film within a few days of its release.
August 12, 2009
Middle-aged readers will remember the popular Saturday Night Live sketch of the 1970s and early 80s-- Mr. Bill. Mr. Bill is an animated puppet with a big white head and simply sketched face that changes expression as Mr. Bill encounters disasters, usually embodied by “Mr. Hands” or “Sluggo.” “Oh Nooooo!” Mr. Bill cries in Hurricane Sluggo (2003) as an alligator opens its big jaws and swallows Mr. Bill while he is waiting on a rooftop in a flooded New Orleans.
July 23, 2009
Summer is when we expose our kids (particularly our city kids) to nature, gardening and camping gear. My teenagers already get “environmental” assignments during the school year, but when summer comes, they get to live them out. Those “green” talks from Mom or those tests at school are set aside for combating slugs on our backyard lettuce or tasting the differences between faucet water in Chicago and northern Wisconsin.

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