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 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.
September 12, 2012
My “gap” semester son, Nick, turned 19 on Monday.  He is working and living with his Dad this fall, while waiting to start college in the spring.  Nick and I spent some nice time together last weekend — going on a shopping spree and discussing our narrative obsession with the AMC series, Breaking Bad.
August 29, 2012
It’s been a busy week in Tampa.  I have been at my Florida home (instead of preparing for school in Chicago) because I am interested in witnessing the Republican National Convention (RNC) activities.
August 15, 2012
When family members are afflicted with diseases for which there is no family history — e.g., a younger sister who had enough precancerous breast cells to justify a double mastectomy at age 40 — my siblings and I swallow our anger about our chemical-laden society and go into research mode.
August 1, 2012
The media has supported an outpouring of grief and anguish for the victims of the Aurora, Colorado massacre at the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
July 18, 2012
My daughter Katie turned seventeen this week and we celebrated by eating, shopping, going to spin classes, eating more and listening to Casey Crescenzo of the Dear Hunter in concert in Chicago. Katie is the child who worries about her grades, studies a lot and rarely parties, but that night she looked radiant in her new sundress, flushed with her excitement about


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