Pirooz Kalayeh is a filmmaker, artist, and author. His films include SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL, THE HUMAN WAR, BRAD WARNER'S HARDCORE ZEN, ZOMBIE BOUNTY HUNTER M.D., and CTRL ALT DEL. His novel THE WHOPPER STRATEGIES details an advertising executive's journey to package Enlightenment in a Box. His sixth feature SOMETIMES I DREAM IN FARSI is currently in post-production with ILIKENIRVANA Productions.
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.
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.”
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 feature 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.”
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).
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’s films 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 is the recipient of the Zora Neale Hurston Scholarship Award from Naropa University and a Best Screenplay Award for THE HUMAN WAR. He is currently working on several original series and film narratives, including HOW NOT TO MAKE A FILM IN MALTA, a Rashoman-style look at a modern classroom with filmmaker Caveh Zahedi, and documentary feature SOMETIMES I DREAM IN FARSI, which documents his and other children's experiences with race and identity.
Pirooz received his PhD in Philosophy, Art, & Critical 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.