King Ester

New York City, New York | Series

Drama, LGBTQ

Dui Jarrod

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $21,065 for post-production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

150 supporters | followers

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Ester, a transwoman from New Orleans destined for fame, is forced to make a decision to leave before Hurricane Katrina arrives, but it may be too late.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

"King Ester" explores the hardships faced by many in the trans community, and the lack of socio-economic resources available to enable them to transition with grace. It showcases the challenges of being trans in today's society, but also inspires all of us to fight constraints to achieve success.

The Story

AUGUST 29, 2005, changed everything for me.


My name is Dui Jarrod, and I'm the writer, director of the new web series "King Ester."

I remember sitting in the living room of my ex-girlfriend’s parents, stunned as I watched the Mississippi River rush past the levees and change the city in which I'd resided for the previous two years. 

I knew New Orleans would never be the same. It never was. It never will be. 


I was sitting alongside Hubert and Linda Jones, friends and lifetime residents of New Orleans, whose faces revealed a pain I knew I could never truly understand. For me, I lost menial things: a couch, a few books, computer. But for them, the water drowned the memories of everything they’d ever known. 

I decided when the time was right; I'd tell a pre-Katrina story that would capture the vibrancy, the heart, and the pain of this beautiful city that had become so familiar to me.


About two years ago, that time came. Inspired, I sat and penned a play about a hood family deciding whether they should leave as Hurricane Katrina was rumored to threaten their safety. 


The play was entitled “The Inevitable Sadness Of All Thangs GUD.” The antagonist of the piece was Ester, a young, bold trans woman fighting to be seen among a family rife with chaos and rage.


After each reading of the play, the audience was delighted, but always wanted more of Ester.


Photo by Yana Smith

I always casually agreed, knowing something was missing with the construction of the character - but what? And how would I find it? What am I intrinsically missing about Ester? 

I began to dig deeper into trans research to better understand Ester's psychological, emotional, and physical needs. I interviewed trans women, listening as their words broke my heart one story at a time.


ARTICLE: What Keeps Dui Jarrod Going As An Emerging Creative



At the heart of my ignorance was my privilege. I was able to look past trans women's truth because their journey seemingly didn't affect mine. 


But as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”


Trans women experience poverty at a staggering level, especially women of color. Their life expectancy is merely 35 years old, and the suicide rate is 3X the national average.


None of that was reflective of the trans women I would see in and around the city. Who knew their sheer existence was under such threat? Why are their lives viewed as disposable? Why are we as a society okay with this? 


Photo By Reginald Dorns

I began feverishly writing. I took the same seven days explored in the play and created a seven-episode web series that accentuated Ester's journey; I wrote to lift her humanity beyond the statistics and into our hearts. 



As a filmmaker, I knew casting the lead would make or break the success of the web series. I was prepared to search high and low for a trans actress that had the perfect mixture of empathy and talent. An actress who could handle the underpinnings of abuse but also the humor needed to survive it.  


Just a few blocks away from me in Brooklyn was a vibrant and brave soul ready to meet the challenge, actress DeJaye Joseph. 



Produced and Edited by Dedalus Moving Pictures


We rounded out the cast with a host of talented actors based in New York, Atlanta, and New Orleans. None more special than actress Janet Hubert, best known for her portrayal of Aunt Viv on TV classic "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."


ARTICLE: Janet Talks About The Pink Leotard And Her Latest Work


Photo by Reginald Dorns




ARTICLE: King Ester Begins Filming In New Orleans


Creating a work of this magnitude can never be accomplished alone. It takes a cast and crew bound together by the belief in the story and commitment to one vision. 


What an incredible crew we had! A diverse group of creatives all sacrificing a piece of themselves to tell this story.


Photo by Reginald Dorns


We've gotten as far as we can, but have come up against some financial constraints. To carry this story into everyone's heart, we now need your support. 

We plan to use the seed money provided here to complete the post-production of the series: including editing, coloring, sound mixing, and scoring of the production.  It's a complicated assortment of needs that are as vital as the filming portion.


We also plan to take the series to tier-one film festivals in the hopes of a production pick-up and distribution of the series to a broader audience. 


Photo By Reginald Dorns

Ester deserves this. 

We are so thankful for you taking time to learn about "King Ester." We hope the series unearths the many stories that history can sometimes wash away. 

Please go to the donation page and find an amount that you are comfortable giving. Share with family and friends, and stay connected with us on social media at @kingesterseries across all platforms. 


Photo by Reginald Dorns


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

Film Editing

Costs $5,000

Editing the footage together is central to the success of the project.

Film Score

Costs $4,000

The music score for the motion picture.

Film Festival

Costs $8,000

We plan to take the production on the film festival circuit beginning in the fall of 2018.

Web Series Promotion

Costs $3,000

The marketing and promotion of the web series.

About This Team

Without this incredible creative team's commitment and collaborative spirit, this series would have never happened. Salute to the creatives!







Current Team