Nadia Alagara, a junior virologist, is called in to examine Patient Zero, a person infected with a deadly virus. The only known symptoms are a rush of blood to the head, causing excessive nosebleeds and violent behavior. Before the examination test, a security breach releases the patient. In a rush of panic to escape, she hits her face into a door, leading to an infrequent nosebleed. She hides inside Patient Zero’s observation room only for five other “doctors” to join her. They come to realize one of them is actually Patient Zero, blending in as a doctor. Anonymous to each other, they break down each other’s alibi and character to determine who is the patient. When Nadia’s nose bleeds, they force her out of the room to fend for herself among the infected. Escaping from the building, she confronts two security guards. The security guards notice Nadia’s nosebleed. Fearing for the worst — against Nadia’s will — they force her back into the building.

  • Jessica Ebert
  • Jessica Ebert
  • Dylan Dauenhauer
  • Sam Schmidt
    Key Cast
    "Nadia Alagara"
  • Chad Anderson
    Key Cast
    "Oliver Torque"
  • Kourosh Parsapour
    Key Cast
    "Dr. Haber"
  • Keoki Trask
    Key Cast
    "Lionel Earp"
  • Michael Hubbard
    Key Cast
    "Marcus Hayden"
  • Sasha Foo
    Key Cast
    "Amber Pickett"
  • Ali Badalov
    Key Cast
    "Daniel Watson"
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Sci-Fi, Horror
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 15 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 7, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    6,950 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - San Diego State University
Director Biography - Jessica Ebert

Jessica Ebert is a young prodigy in the SDSU film program. Double-majoring in both film and psychology, Ebert has a knack for creating films that explore the dark side of the human mind. In 2022, Ebert directed and co-wrote Your Last Call, closing out the SDSU Emerging Filmmakers film festival. This dark comedy questioned how a variety of people would react to the end of the world in a humorous yet existential matter. In late 2021, Ebert also wrote and directed Wicker, a short psychological horror centered around a distinguished author using his murders as inspiration for his writing. Ebert is excited for everyone to trivialize Infectious and the genuine reactions we have to fear.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

In a time when a nonchalant cough will earn you strange looks at the supermarket, face masks are sold on every corner, and rapid testing kits are free to the public, the newly instilled fear over airborne infectious diseases and viruses looms across every continent on Earth. Pandemics are one of the human race’s worst enemies, and everyone dreads the onslaught of a new, deadlier outbreak. Infectious bottles up this newfound paranoia and fear and presents itself to you.
The truth is that three years ago, life was going great! I was in the midst of my last semester of my senior year of high school. Everything was going according to plan: my prom dress was the perfect shade of red, my grad night tickets were in my back pocket, my college acceptances were rolling in, and my cap and gown were hanging in a dust jacket in my closet - white to commemorate my 4.6 GPA that I worked day and night for. Then, on March 13th, 2020, my life suddenly changed. And I am not alone.
The experience of the dreaded Coronavirus pandemic across the globe is the prime inspiration for Infectious, accompanying the grim history of smallpox, scarlet fever, the Bubonic Plague, and yellow fever that stand side-by-side as the most deadly illnesses known to man. Needless to say, the stakes are high. But this is far from a sob story, nor is it your classic zombie/outbreak film. In this short, the most lethal thing isn’t the virus - it’s the fear and paranoia that the doctors emulate, accusing and tearing one another down in order to escape. It’s the same fear we all felt during the pandemic: the uncertainty, the dread, and the anxiety all bundled into one film.
As someone who loves to write and direct horror - especially psychological horror - I wanted to test myself by throwing in the element of science fiction. Capturing the twisting narratives of The Twilight Zone, the fear of Alien, the speculation of The Mist, the monsters of The Walking Dead, and the sneaky government inner-workings of Stranger Things, I sought to create a film that demonstrates a different side of zombie-esque films: the beginning of the virus escaping. Through Nadia’s discovery, realization, and fight to do the right thing, we see a side other than the “escape the monsters” trope in pandemic films.
The process has not only been a blast, but a learning experience. With a cast of seven primary characters and numerous extras, directing the cast and crew was a new and welcomed challenge that the Infectious crew tackled head on. Additionally, thanks to our production designer, Camilla Villaseñor, we were able to utilize a studio on the SDSU campus to design and build the CDC, which was a new adventure to us all. From there, Alex Young (cinematographer) worked his magic for lighting a lab environment, combined with intentional camera movements to match the dialogue, Dylan (producer) coordinated complex times, dates, and locations to bring us all together, and Daniel Eskin (editor) brought it all home with his unmatched editing skills.
I truly hope you enjoy our senior thesis film, Infectious! Hopefully, our passion, determination, and grit is contagious.
- Jessica Ebert