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Film explores grief in the digital age

University of Missouri professors team up to explore how people process loss with today’s digital reminders.

Chip Gubera on set of a the film Lost Treasure of Jesse James. Gubera is now helping a filmmaker explore grief in the digital age.

Chip Gubera on set of a the film Lost Treasure of Jesse James. Gubera is now helping a filmmaker explore grief in the digital age.

March 5, 2021

Technology is changing the way we process grief as those who pass away leave behind social media accounts, text messages and other digital reminders.

“Our loved ones — especially younger loved ones who have passed — are still around digitally,” said Chip Gubera, assistant professor of professional practice in the University of Missouri College of Engineering’s Information Technology Program. “So how do we deal with the grief when it feels as though someone is still around, when there are all of these digital markers?”

Gubera and filmmaker Desiree Moore will explore the phenomenon in a new feature documentary, Reenactment. The film will follow Moore as she navigates electronic records to reincarnate her deceased partner through a series of reenactments.

Reenactment observes how the digital realm that defines modern life shapes new ways of grieving,” said Moore, an assistant teaching professor in the College of Arts and Science’s School of Visual Studies. “The goal is to use my personal story as a platform to honor the tapestry of shared experiences that exist all around us.”

The feature-length documentary is new for Moore, who typically works in video art. That’s one reason she recruited Gubera, who has worked on nine feature films, including one documentary nominated for a mid-American Emmy award.

“I asked him to be the producer because he is a deeply entrenched resident of mid-Missouri and brings expertise in indie production and steadfast regional connections to the production,” Moore said. “Chip is also well-versed in graphics and audio engineering, which will serve the project when we make it to post-production.”

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