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“16 Weeks” is a social media-based documentary film guiding its audience through a semester at Missouri State University during the coronavirus pandemic. Using their smartphones, members of the university community grant an intimate glimpse into their daily lives as they document a semester dominated by the virus.
The film begins at the start of the fall 2020 semester, with our cast explaining what the first day back was like for them. The documentary then reflects on events from the beginning of the year using news sources such as The Standard, MSU’s independent, student-run newspaper.
The exposition of “16 Weeks” guides the audience from events starting around the virus outbreak in Wuhan, its travel internationally, and finally to its arrival in Springfield – which ultimately led to classes being moved online at MSU in March 2020.
After this retelling of prior months, the film moves into first-person content from our cast, shifting from person to person as they describe the pandemic’s impact on their lives. The mood continually evolves as each member of the cast shares their unique experiences.
This first-person vlog content is supplemented by formal interviews with our cast and prominent university members, such as MSU President Clif Smart.
Common themes reveal themselves as the semester progresses and cases rise.
By the end of the film, the university community will either celebrate that they’ve made it through the full 16 weeks, or they will lament the sacrifices made in the name of education.