Pirooz Kalayeh

Visual Director in the Division of Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought and Faculty Fellow at The European Gradate School.

Pirooz Kalayeh*


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.”

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 the much-anticipated hybrid feature APOCALYPSE LATER and Buddhist documentary DON’T BE A JERK.

Pirooz received his PhD in Philosophy, Art, & Critical Thought from The European Graduate School. His dissertation explores the hybridization of narrative and documentary storytelling in the works of Abbas Kiarostami and Caveh Zahedi, and how their juxtapositions between cinema and reality offer an entrance into the sublime. His thesis adviser was Mike Figgis.

Coinciding with his professional work in film and television, exhibitions, and musical and theatrical performances, Pirooz continues to teach cinema studies, 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, and Naropa University.