Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies

Dr. Elizabeth Coffman awarded the Ken Burns Prize for Film

Dr. Elizabeth Coffman awarded the Ken Burns Prize for Film

Dr. Elizabeth Coffman is a Loyola professor as well as an active documentary filmmaker and film scholar.

Coffman has created feature films and installations on writers, environmental crises and nation-building with her production company, Long Distance Productions. Additionally, Coffman has published scholarly work on documentary history, from early avant-garde shorts to contemporary video and film collectives. 


The Burns award comes with a $200,000 grant to aid with post-production and distribution. Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, partnered with esteemed documentarian Ken Burns to select the winning film.

 “Flannery is an extraordinary documentary that allows us to follow the creative process of one of our country’s greatest writers,” said Burns. 

“It also provides us a glimpse into her life, including her Catholic faith, her unusual sensitivity to race as a Southern white woman and her daily struggles with illness and the prospect and reality of an early mortality. The story is beautifully told and captures the power of her Southern birth and life. We’re hopeful that a new generation of readers will rediscover the writings of Flannery O’Connor because of this film.”

Coffman has worked at Loyola University Chicago since 2004, serving as department chair for Communication and director of the Film and Digital Media Program. She teaches COMM 203, Topics in Cinema History, a course often cross-listed with WSGS. Last month, Coffman presented as part of the Loyola Feminist Lecture Series on her museum installation about poet Sarra  Copia Sullam, Souls & Sonnets.

Watch the trailer of Flannery here: https://vimeo.com/354796275

Read the Library of Congress official press release here: https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-19-100/library-of-congress-lavineken-burns-prize-for-film-awarded-to-flannery-directed-by-elizabeth-coffman-and-mark-bosco/2019-10-16/