Photo by Paul Pwaura

Can a failing marriage survive the COVID stay-at-home quarantine? Or will a chance encounter during the pandemic reignite a woman’s enthusiasm for life? These questions are the basis for “A Personal Pandemic,” a film written, directed, and starring Valley residents. It premieres at the Phoenix Film Festival on April 6, and has additional showings April 10 and 13.

“A Personal Pandemic” was created by Jeff Breuer, Phoenix resident and film professor at Grand Canyon University (GCU), during the COVID quarantine. Based on a short film he made prior to the shutdown, “A Personal Pandemic” gave Breuer the opportunity to explore brokenness through a different lens by asking, “What are the effects of a mandatory quarantine during a global pandemic and how does it impact people in challenging and uncomfortable relationships?”

“This is a movie without conventional heroes and villains,” Breuer says. “Instead, the film is designed to help audiences reflect on the characters’ brokenness as humans, without casting judgment. I hope audience members use this movie as a springboard to accept learning, evolving, and changing as a part of moving forward in life.”

Breuer wrote and shot the movie during the pandemic. One of his motivators was to help friends and colleagues in the film industry who were struggling to find work during the crisis. This was the first feature for many of the participants, including several recent GCU graduates who worked on the production.

“Everyone in front of and behind the camera gave a lot of themselves to make this movie happen,” he says.

The film was shot on location in North Phoenix and Prescott. The cast includes Joe Flowers, North Valley Arts Academies theater teacher; Rebekah Varghese, president of the Independent Filmmakers of Phoenix (IFP); and Phoenix-based actors Briana Lys and Jedediah Jones. The 103-minute film also includes a cameo by local influencer and television broadcaster Kristen Keogh.

This is not Breuer’s first Phoenix Film Festival appearance. In 2011, his team created a short film called “HOA Police: Suburban Enforcers” which won Best of Show at the Beat the Clock Challenge. Made during a series of 48-hour film challenges, Breuer and his team won a regional competition that provided an opportunity to screen the film at the Phoenix festival where they earned top prize accolades.

“A Personal Pandemic” is part of the Phoenix Film Festival at Harkins Scottsdale 101. Tickets are available online and start at $15 each.