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 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.
July 8, 2009
On June 28th I found myself picking up my two teenagers in New York City to spend the rest of the summer with me in Chicago. It happened to be the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and a big Gay Pride weekend. My friend, community activist Isabel Grayson, and I decided to take our kids up to Greenwich Village to see the parade.
June 25, 2009
After being in a relationship with my current partner for almost as long as my marriage lasted, I decided that it was time to read about stepparenting. Even though I’m the one with the biological children, and my partner’s the stepparent, the title — The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Stepparenting -- convinced me to buy the book…
June 10, 2009
3 disasters connected to Kansas I’ve watched happen recently:1. What’s the Matter with Kansas?
May 27, 2009
The two-income family is one area in which I received no helpful advice while growing up. I was born in the mid-1960s, raised by a stay-at-home mom and working dad, watched The Brady Bunch on TV and discovered feminism in college. I have always wanted a career, a family, and a house (one, not two...) and never really thought about the time, the money or the hours in the day necessary to make it all work.
May 13, 2009
My daughter and I almost made it through Mother’s Day without screaming at each other. Unfortunately, as I was driving Katie back to her Dad’s house to pick up some homework, she refused to put on any shoes. (Not even her flip flops...!) I lost my temper. “You’ll step on glass!” I yelled. “You’ll make the carpet dirty! You’ll get pin worms!” Needless to say, Katie screamed her dislike of me right back into my face, and we had a lousy Mother’s Day moment.
May 7, 2009
For the last three months a German film student has been living in the basement of my Chicago home. David is a foreign exchange student, but he is also an intern who is assisting my partner and me with completing our latest documentary.
April 22, 2009
While on sabbatical and spending more time with my kids, my thirteen year-old daughter, Katie, has opted to spend evenings with me, while her fifteen year-old brother prefers to stay with his dad (my ex-husband). Their dad and I are working hard to let the children initiate these choices, and not to fall into the trap, as Katie tearfully accused us, of laying on a ‘guilt trip’ for choosing the other parent. We do not allow any more statements such as, “But I’m cooking your favorite chicken pot pie tonight! Can’t you go over to your Mom’s house some other night?”

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