The Human War / Echo

Filmmaker Attending Fri Feb 21, 2014 –  5:00 pm — Café Fromage #2
Sat Feb 22, 2014 –  7:30 pm — Domenico’s
Sun Feb 23, 2014 –  5:00 pm — Domenico’s

Filmmaker Spotlight – The Making of “The Human War” Sun. Feb. 23, 2014 | More info here.

(Echo – short film preceding feature, see detail below)

The Human War


The Human War Movie PosterCategory:  Comedy, Independent
Country:  U.S.
Language:  English
Rating:  R
Runtime:  76 min
Director:  Pirooz  Kalayeh, Thomas Henwood
Producer:  Pirooz  Kalayeh, Thomas Henwood

Filmmaker Attending



Mark Swift is your typical Youngstown teenager, smart, streetwise, and stifled by a depressed local economy and self-destructive youth culture. He’s also a struggling writer, trying to hone his craft and give himself an education he can’t afford.

Mark spends his days as a dishwasher at a local restaurant, and splits his free time between his panophobic girlfriend, Kendra, and his mildy-deranged best friend, Jimmy. On the morning of March 20, 2003, Mark wakes to the imminent declaration of war in Iraq, a fact that weighs heavily on him as he struggles to work, write, and plot his escape from Youngstown. Mark’s friends Lewis and Carl are looking to escape as well, but in a depressed town where people have little to lose, violence can quickly replace lofty dreams with bleak reality.

Mark seeks refuge from this reality in his sometime girlfriend, Kendra. Hanging out at a trailer subsidized by her middle-class parents, she and Mark contemplate an America at war, have sex, and play cat and mouse around their mutual infidelities. But not even Kendra can help Mark escape his feelings of horror and depression, so he heads to a local diner to write. There Mark meets reclusive veteran, Elijah Mays, whose views on war and humanity have been forged by his own moral decay in Vietnam.

Seeking diversion from Kendra’s anxiety and Elijah’s cold vision of humanity, Mark joins up with Jimmy, an artist and borderline delinquent who acts as a sounding board for his most misanthropic ideas and indulgent habits. They head to a low-rent strip club where they attempt to drown their thoughts on the “War on Terror” with sex and alcohol; but the horror stories of the talkative dancers, and the emptiness they feel after most of their paychecks are gone, leave them feeling even more bitter about life in Youngstown and the war.

As the first bombs are dropped and war is declared, Mark and Jimmy seek refuge at a local dive bar for some crapieoke (A.K.A. bad karaoke). Mark finds encouragement for his writing in Missy, a local college student whom he secretly admires, but frustration with Kendra, who shows up, it seems, to spoil his good time. Despite the alcohol and reverie, Mark is pushed to the breaking point by a tragic revelation involving Lewis and Carl. Thrown into a manic state of confusion and guilt, Mark lashes out at the war and his surroundings before the night comes crashing down.

The next morning Mark awakes to a world that has changed, and choices he must make to survive in a society at war.


(short film to be screen before feature film)
EchoCategory:  Drama, Youth/Teen
Country:  United Kingdom
Language:  English
Rating:  PG-13
Runtime:  18 min
Director:  Lewis Arnold
Producer:  Lawrence Mason




17-year-old Caroline receives a call from the hospital, as her dad has had a motorcycle accident. Distressed and disorientated, she struggles to work out the bus route to the hospital, until concerned passerby’s come to her aid. However her unexpected reaction reveals there is more to this call than first appears.
Based on a real life event witnessed by writer James Walker


NOTE:  Synopsis are typically provided directly by the filmmaker themselves. Often English is not their first language. We ask reader’s understanding for less-than-perfect language and grammar