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

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…
March 16, 2011
There’s been a lot of negative media lately, particularly surrounding education and teachers' unions in Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida.My children attend a Florida public high school that is ranked as one of the top five best schools in the state for academics, and consistently ranked number one in football and volleyball. They have an extensive Advanced Placement course program that is so popular that my kids cannot get into all of the AP courses that they want. The courses are large and overenrolled, but at least they are challenging.
March 3, 2011
Two weeks ago, I was at a Chicago dinner party with Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, columnist for Politics Dailey and author of the FLOTUS blog on Michelle Obama. Sweet was in town covering Rahm Emanuel’s successful race to replace mayor Richard M. Daley. After dinner Sweet remarked on the surprising media response to her Daily Flotus piece about the first lady’s support of breastfeeding legislation.
February 16, 2011
When I first heard the word, I thought, ‘Edupunk sounds like the kind of educational strategy that my son Nick may appreciate.’ My seventeen year-old's declining grades and motivation in his AP and Honors courses have been a source of mystery for his father and myself. When he’s not watching Youtube, Nick strives to be a rock-n-roll star, so connecting education to the D.I.Y. strategies of punk rockers may just be his ticket.
February 2, 2011
If you’ve been snowed in and have a little time on your hands -- as I do in Chicago — then I bet you’ve either read or heard about Stephanie Coontz’s new book, A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s.
January 19, 2011
The holiday vacation is for me, as for many academics, a time when I complete much-needed fieldwork for projects; in my case, completing a documentary on the bayous of Louisiana. After driving across the country, my partner and I were nearing the end of a long, road trip, passing through I-57 in southern Illinois. (I bet you can guess what happens next…)
January 5, 2011
I ended last semester with 58 student research papers to read and grade in 10 days. 700 (digital) pages to digest, analyze and write comments for. After staying up until 6:00 AM on the last night that grades were due, I wondered to myself, “What’s my problem with multiple choice exams?”
December 8, 2010
This weekend I took my daughter tree climbing as part of the new therapy she’s been receiving. Katie was given a rope, a helmet and a harness, and shown how to manipulate knots and footholds to inch her way to the top of 50-foot tall tree. The fun part was when the instructors persuaded Katie to return upside-down on the rope--‘spider-girl’-like--with her feet clinging to a knot, until her hands touched the ground.

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