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article imageDui Jarrod talks 'King Ester' and four Daytime Emmy nominations Special

By Markos Papadatos     May 31, 2020 in Entertainment
"King Ester" showrunner Dui Jarrod chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos about the four 2020 Daytime Emmy nominations for the digital drama series "King Ester," and being a filmmaker in the digital age.
On his inspiration to write and direct King Ester, he said, "The story was born out of necessity: artistic, economic, and social justice. I'd written a play entitled 'The Inevitable Sadness Of All Thangs Gud,' about a family in the Pigeon Town neighborhood of New Orleans. From the family emerged, Ester. The importance of her story living beyond the play became paramount. I wrote four episodes and gave them to Patrick Ryan Morris and Sheena Suarez at Dedalus Motion Pictures. They were moved by the screenplays and urged me to finish."
"Directing the project has been my greatest joy," he admitted. "I had such a strong vision for the visual realization of Ester's world. Every time I watch it, I'm enamored by the beauty of what we created. So many incredible artists understood and fortified my vision like Patrick Ryan Morris (cinematographer/editor), Kris Johnson (film composer), Megan Coates (costume designer), Iran Garcia (sound designer), and Cheyenne Ford (production designer). They were amazing," he exclaimed.
King Ester earned four Daytime Emmy nominations, which include two for "Outstanding Writing Team in a Digital Drama Series" and "Outstanding Directing Team in a Digital Drama Series." "When I first saw the nominations, my heart was filled so many different emotions. Joy, nervousness, and fear. The feelings were striking," he said.
"Then, there was a profound sadness that 'King Ester' wasn't nominated for 'Outstand Digital Drama Series,' or that the other black series in contention didn't get a nomination. After a few conversations and a lot of tears, I realized that this was a blessing meant to affirm the hard work I've put in over the years. The recognition humbles me. I share this with the entire 'King Ester' family," he acknowledged.
Rowin Amone and Janet Hubert in  King Ester
Rowin Amone and Janet Hubert in 'King Ester'
Reginald Dorns
Jarrod praised his exceptional cast, especially Rowin Amone and the iconic Janet Hubert. "As a creator, I'm not sure I've ever had an experience like working with these two phenomenal women. Janet is so seasoned, so generous, so available. She's a remarkable artist who's seen her share of ups and downs," he said.
"Rowin had a hell of a challenge in front of her. I remember watching her during the production meeting where we shared the same fear, 'can we do this?' The next day, she brought Ester to life in a way that made me believe in the power of art. She was wonderful. It's been good to see her push herself out there because she's shy and soft-hearted. I'm grateful for her commitment to the project and hope it creates fertile ground for her to plant and grow," he elaborated.
On being a filmmaker in the digital age, he said, "Praise God for YouTube. It's democratized the possibilities. Without access, our stories won't be told. Shout out to Issa Rae, Dennis Dorch, and James Bland for leading the way and Color Creative for offering their digital platform."
When asked about his favorite or most memorable part about the King Ester experience, he responded, "At Slayfest in New York, I witnessed the sisterhood between Angelica Ross (Executive Producer, 'King Ester'), Dane Figerora Edidi (Patra, 'King Ester'), and Rowin Amone. The pure joy of their bond created an unforgettable memory I will not soon forget."
Rowin Amone in the digital drama series  King Ester
Rowin Amone in the digital drama series 'King Ester'
Reginald Dorns
For young and aspiring screenwriters and directors, he encouraged them to "listen" as well as to "trust their intuition." "Affirm yourself. I spent far too many years waiting for something outside of me to affirm my path. Things didn't shift until I affirmed myself and created what my intuition told me to. The Daytime Emmy nominations are the icing on the cake I already baked," he explained.
"Oh yeah, drink lots of water. Self-care is everything. Comparison is dangerous. Don't waste too much money on film festivals," he added.
On his plans for the future include with King Ester, he said, "Many people have asked this recently. At present, there are no plans for season two; however, I did finish the feature film version of the original play of which 'King Ester' is derived. I also finished a series pilot entitled 'Last Name Known.' It's a drama about youths in a homeless shelter in Los Angeles. I'm producing the series with Chis Hicks (Dsrpt Media) and Andy Fraser and Katie Politanoff (A Really Good Home Pictures)."
Dui Jarrod and the cast of  King Ester
Dui Jarrod and the cast of 'King Ester'
Reginald Dorns for King Ester LLC.
For fans and viewers, he concluded about King Ester, "It's a unique perspective on a familiar narrative. Your participation in that narrative is vital to society's duty to create more space for humans to exist. Is the work I created challenging? Yes. But so is the everyday life of every trans person of color in this country."
To learn more about the digital drama series King Ester, check out its official website.
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