Pirooz Kalayeh is a filmmaker, artist, and author. His past films include THE HUMAN WAR, SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL, BRAD WARNER'S HARDCORE ZEN, ZOMBIE BOUNTY HUNTER M.D., and CTRL ALT DEL. His web series is STORIES BETWEEN IRAN & AMERICA. His latest documentary feature is SOMETIMES I DREAM IN FARSI.
He obtained a BA in English Literature from The University of Delaware and an MFA in Creative Writing from The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. His multicultural stories, poetry translations, and corporate satires have been widely published in journals and anthologies, including Looking Back (New Brighton Books, 2003), Wigleaf, Ducts, Past Simple, Horseless Press, and No Tell Motel.
Poet Jim Goar describes his debut novel The Whopper Strategies as “a book that demystifies and devours our corporate culture”, while screenwriter and novelist Charles Yu commends it for being “like nothing you have read before” and novelist Laird Hunt calls him “a writer to watch.”
Buddhist Film Festival (2013)
APOCALYPSE LATER (2018)
Seoul, Korea (2008)
Cecil's Water (2011)
Los Angeles Premiere, 2012
San Francisco, 2013
Los Angeles, 2008
CTRL ALT DEL (2016)
Seattle Premiere, 2012
The Slipshod Swingers, 2008
Hardcore Zen (2013)
In 2005, Pirooz continued his exploration in storytelling as an Associate Producer and Post Production Coordinator at Weller Grossman Productions. Some of the national television programs he worked on include STRICTYLY SEX WITH DR DREW (DISC), CRAFTLAB (DIY), and LOOK WHAT I DID (HGTV).
In 2008, Pirooz left Hollywood for a two year exploration of Asia, where he produced Transistor Radio with musical group The Slipshod Swingers, interviewed artists and filmmakers on his blog Shikow, and wrote the screenplay that would lead to his eventual return stateside for a directorial debut.
In 2012, Pirooz’s first film project SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL was released by Indie Screen and played to sold out audiences across America, with Dead End Follies’ Benoit Lelievre extolling the film for requiring “every bit of your wits” and not being a “sit-and-watch, turn-your-brain-off movie.”
THE HUMAN WAR (2014) was co-produced and co-directed by Pirooz and premiered at the Beloit International Film Festival on February 21, 2014, played select theaters across America, and streamed on eFilm Torrelodones in Spain.
ZOMBIE BOUNTY HUNTER M.D. premiered at On Vous Ment Film Festival in Lyon, France on May 24, 2016 and streamed on Vodd (a new French SVOD service launched in January 2016).
Pirooz is a recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston Scholarship Award from Naropa University and a Best Screenplay Award for THE HUMAN WAR. His past film projects have been featured in L.A. Weekly, Village Voice, Vice, and Indiewire. L.A. Weekly calls him “an energetic and loquacious multi-hyphenate” with Indiewire labeling SHOPLIFTING… as “five projects we’re rooting for” and Village Voice crediting him for “capturing much of the tone of the novella.”
Pirooz's latest documentary feature, SOMETIMES I DREAM IN FARSI, examines a traumatic racist incident in his childhood and how Gestalt Therapy and discussions with friends and family can offer a path forward for children and adults who have had similar experiences.
Pirooz received his PhD in Media and Communication from The European Graduate School. His dissertation was on digital media and new hybrids within contemporary Iranian Cinema. His instructors included Terrence Mallick, Wim Wenders, Wendy Brown, and Barbara Hammer. His supervisor was Mike Figgis.
Coinciding with his professional work in film and television, exhibitions, and musical and theatrical performances, Pirooz has continued to teach screenwriting, cinema studies, creative writing, acting, and film production courses to a diverse array of students around the globe, including UCLA Extension, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, Yonsei University, Monroe Community College, Compton Community College, The European Graduate School, and Naropa University. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Screenwriting and Film Production at Southern Illinois University.
Pirooz Kalayeh loves combining his multifaceted experiences as an artist, musician, writer, actor, and director to create new hybrids and innovations in storytelling. Formerly a neuroscience major and obedient first generation immigrant, Pirooz broke with tradition and gave heart attacks to Iranian parents everywhere by joining musical group Cecil’s Water and touring with such acclaimed artists as The Caulfields, The Toasters, Ruder Than You, Spindrift, The Verge, and others.