Land of Gold

Los Angeles, California | Film Feature


Pallavi Sastry

2 Campaigns | California, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $51,361 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

278 supporters | followers

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Land of Gold is a story of hope and finding family in the most unexpected places; A universal story uniquely told from 2 first generation perspectives. We received our green light from 2021 Tribeca/AT&T Untold Stories. Now we need your help to raise remaining funds to cover necessary COVID-19 costs.

About The Project

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

Mission Statement

My goal as a storyteller is to be a force of change in expanding representation of the global majority. As a result, I’ve focused my filmmaking on grounded stories about BIPOC persons on the fringe; like my award winning short, PAGG, based on my experience in a post 9/11 society. --Nardeep Khurmi

The Story


Land of Gold follows Kiren, a first-generation Punjabi trucker and expectant father, on his last cross-country trucking job before his baby is due. Leaving for Boston after promising his wife Preeti he’d stay home, Kiren discovers Elena, a 10 year-old Mexican-American, stowed away enroute. 

Recognizing she is alone and possibly undocumented, Kiren puts his own livelihood in jeopardy as he begrudgingly resolves to shepherd Elena to her uncle in Maine. As the pair ride across the changing American landscape, Kiren faces what it means to be a father and Elena learns how to trust again. They connect through family, dreams of the future, and a healthy debate over God’s existence, all while the ghosts of the past, racially charged encounters, and the threat of I.C.E. linger over their journey. 


Director's Letter

Hi everybody. I’m Nardeep Khurmi. Writer and director of Land of Gold.

My parents, like many immigrants, rarely speak about their journey. You have to collect their experience piecemeal - from photos, anecdotal accounts from family and friends. But one day, because a girlfriend was visiting, my father gave me an insight…  about a picture in a magazine he saw as a medical student in India. It was an image of luscious green grass swaying in the wind, sheep peppering the rolling hillsides dripping into the deep blue ocean. 

It was this image, he said, that sparked dream to travel, to see the world, visit places different than his dusty and farm-filled upbringing in the Punjab. It was this image that eventually pushed him to chase his “American Dream.”

Land of Gold celebrates my parent’s story, and many other immigrant’s, in an atypical way. It is a dance between cultures that have a longstanding yet untold history. I, like many, didn’t know about the rich intersectional histories between the South Asian and Mexican communities. 

Punjabi farmers were the first Indians that came to the United States, immigrating in the late 1800’s. During the Asian Exclusion Act, these farmers formed close relationships with the migrating Mexican population, creating a hybrid Mexican/Punjabi community still going strong in the American South West. 

Land of Gold is my homage to that rich American history. 

I often wonder if immigrants like my father feel like the dream lives up to expectations. We certainly had casualties along the way, an emotionally unstable household, broken relationships, substance abuse, anger, and a very real erasure of our cultural selves. But we always had each other.  Our heroes are 1st generation, dealing with the accumulation of experiences from their immigrant family, wrestling with how to pass it on to the next generation. A story of hope and finding family in unexpected places. It’s about a man learning to be a father and a young woman forced to grow up too fast.


Production Plan

We are blessed to have the majority of our funding via the AT&T/Tribeca Untold Stories Program, which gave us a $1million budget, a guaranteed premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2022, and distribution via HBOMax!

However, with the looming costs of COVID-19 crippling many independent film budgets, we want to be prepared for that challenge as we move forward into production. The funds raised here will not only take care of COVID-19 testing to ensure the safety of everyone on set; it will create space in the budget for our team's travel and accommodation as per COVID-19 guidelines, as well as crucial story and production elements. All of this facilitates a more seamless process and gorgeous cinematic experience.


COVID-19 Testing - $24,000

PPE -  $3,000

COVID Compliance Officer - $10,000

Rapid Tests - $4,000

Test Processing - $3,000

Travel & Accommodation Safety Protocols - $6,000


TOTAL: $50,000



5,000 - Semi-Truck Rental


TOTAL: $55,000


Independent film is a team sport, and we are incredibly fortunate to have a world-class cast and crew working with us on this film. Your support will allow us to prioritize our team's creative energy and comfort as we capture the epic road trip from Kiren & Preeti's home in California to Elena's destination at the lighthouse in Maine. Thank you so much for your generosity. We can't wait to share the journey with you!


Nardeep & Team


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

COVID-19 Testing

Costs $24,000

COVID-19 tests are a big ticket item and a priority to keep cast and crew safe throughout production


Costs $3,000

Masks, gloves, and sanitizer...Oh my!

COVID Compliance Officer

Costs $10,000

The amazing person keeping us safe on set!

Rapid Tests

Costs $4,000

Test results in 15min or less. Priced at 4x as much as regular tests. A necessary back up!

Test Processing

Costs $3,000

Gotta send these tests to the nearest lab to be processed via our Set Medic!

Travel & Accommodation Safety Protocols

Costs $6,000

COVID-19 affects all parts of our budget, including spacing out travel and housing for cast & crew

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Hi! Pallavi and Keertana Sastry here. We're sisters, producing partners, and representation crusaders. We like to say yes to filmmakers that wear their hearts on the screen and we graviate towards grounded diaspora films that explore the human condition. Guiding Land of Gold as producers and facilitating this incredible team's artistry has already been a great pleasure of our careers and this is just the beginning of this journey.

Follow us: @KeertanaKS / @PallaviSastry

Here's a little bit about our stellar team.


Nardeep Khurmi (writer/director/actor): 

Nardeep hails from the ‘burbs of Philly by way of Switzerland. You can usually catch him searching for the tastiest street food when he’s not working on his films, which spotlight underrepresented communities with narratives focused on expanding representation of the global majority. His award-winning short films, Pagg and Monogamish, have screened at over 60 festivals internationally, and his vlog-style adaptation of Flowers for Algernon and his latest short film, Unknown Caller, are streaming on YouTube. Nardeep is also an accomplished stage and screen actor, recently recurring on “Why Women Kill,” “Orbital Redux,” and “Jane the Virgin,” and appearing on “Rebel,” "Kenan," “SWAT,” “The Odd Couple,” and “Angie Tribeca.” He also voices a veritable stable of animals and humans on Disney’s hit “Mira, Royal Detective.” His script for Land of Gold is a 2020 Slamdance Quarterfinalist, 2021 WeScreenplay Finalist, 2021 ScreenCraft Film Fund Finalist, 2021 Page Screenwriting Award Quarterfinalist, as well as on Coverfly’s Red List.

A Note from the Producers: It all starts with our friend Nardeep and this very special story. Nardeep brought us his very first draft of Land of Gold in early 2020 and even from that first iteration, we were affected by the conflict of the Kiren and Elena's stories and at the same time, we saw ourselves in his writing. He is one of the most thoughtful storytellers of our generation and Land of Gold is a culmination of 15+ years of hard work. The cherry on top; just wait til you see his performance as Kiren in this film. 


Simon TaufiQue (Producer/Composer):

Simon is a British-Indian, award-winning and Emmy-nominated producer, educator and composer based in New York. He has produced several films and collaborated with scores of notable filmmakers and artists including M. Night Shyamalan, Kevin Smith, Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Reinaldo Marcus Green, Anja Marquardt, Mary Harron and Sofian Khan. His work as a producer is inspired by diverse characters and unconventional stories told with original voices and a focus on authenticity. 

Before embarking on producing, Simon was a protege of the iconic guitarist and composer, David Torn (David Bowie, The Coen Bros), later becoming the program director for the South Asian International Film Festival and a member of the Tribeca Film Festival programming committee. He recently developed the Film & TV Producing certificate program at NYU, where he currently teaches, as well as serving as an advisor and Masterclass instructor for the Sundance Institute’s Co//ab program. He is the co-president of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society (Associates) in NY, is an active member of the Producers Guild (East) and the Society of Composers and Lyricists.


Rose Harwood (Co-Producer/Production Coordinator)

Rose is an actress, writer, and producer based in NYC. Her voice can be heard on numerous national TV and radio commercials, and she has appeared on screen in both New Amsterdam and Happy!. As a writer, her scripts all center around strong female protagonists. She is passionate about and committed to telling underrepresented stories. Currently, she is in post production on the feature documentary, Invisible. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA, NYWIFT, and graduate of USC School of Theatre.


Julie Bersani (Line Producer)

A graduate of NYU – Tisch, Julie founded Black Poppy Productions, which specializes in identifying, developing, and producing uniquely told stories that value imagination and representation. She has produced critically acclaimed content in theatre, film, and music videos for artists and clients including John Legend and The Grammys. Her feature films include DYLAN & ZOEY starring Claudia Doumit, BACK TO LYLA with Tracie Thoms and Emma Kenney, and GIRL NAMED GUY with Bruce Dern and Dot Marie Jones. She has also produced a number of award winning short films, as well as the original comedy series, TROJANS OF TINDER.

For more information visit


Christopher Low (Cinematographer)

Chris Low is a director and cinematographer who hails from Brooklyn, NY and currently splits his time between Los Angeles, New York, and Paris. He graduated from NYU’s Tisch film program and is haunted by a long overdue college library fee he continually forgets to pay. His excuse for this is his ongoing engagement making commercial, narrative, and documentary films which has brought him across the globe to far-flung places such as Iraq and the Congo. 

Much of his work is steeped in mood and emotional resonance but he is known in some circles to have a deft hand at writing comedy. He is also 1st generation Chinese-American and rather opinionated in matters of art and food. Outside of commercial and documentary work he is developing several narrative feature scripts. His short, Black Ghost Son, premiered and was nominated for Best Narrative Short at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2020. It is currently making its rounds on the festival circuit and is being developed into a feature.


Mark Steele (Post Production Supervisor)

Mark Steele is an industry multi-hyphenate with a successful track record in post-production, production, and business affairs. He has been the post-production supervisor on many documentary and narrative films. Mark's Sundance Film Festival titles include: CUTIE AND THE BOXER, SEMBENE!, HOWL, THE CONVINCER, BLAST BEAT!, BUCK, MY PERESTROIKA, and IT'S ME, HILARY: THE MAN WHO DREW ELOISE. In addition to shepherding many projects from editorial through the long tail of worldwide sales and distribution, Mark was a production executive at Werc Werk Works where he wore many hats; including being the head of post-production. In 2020, Mark became a partner of Post Hub, a post-production management and consulting service. Mark is a member of the Producers Guild of America and was a 2013 Trans-Atlantic Partners Producing Fellow.


Jessie Motts (Associate Producer)

She takes her coffee black, her whiskey neat, and her eggs over easy.  J. Motts is a Cleveland-based filmmaker and writer with Rust Belt roots and a mission to move people.

Motts began her film producing career as a Line Producer on THIS TEACHER, winner of the 2018 LA Film Festival US Fiction Jury Prize, and she has since collaborated on projects supported by Ford Foundation, Firelight Media, Chicken + Egg, and PBS.

Now that she has relocated to Northeast Ohio, Motts is developing a slate of projects based in her home region and continues to work with collaborators on the coasts through her freelance company, Tectonic Pictures.


Tara Aquino (Associate Producer)

Tara Aquino is an Olympic bronze-medalist weightlifter and champion equestrian who was actually never any one of those things. Rather, she’s a queer first-gen Filipinx American who eventually climbed out of the depths of the San Fernando Valley and fostered a diverse career in entertainment. In addition to formerly being Complex Networks' Pop Culture Editor, she’s worked in development at Paramount, written national campaigns for Nike, and produced digital series for Snoop Dogg. Most recently, she served as Head of Content at FREE THE WORK, a nonprofit for underrepresented creators. Now, she’s an independent writer/producer/creative consultant who’s producing writer-director Alyssa Lerner's feature Jesse Is a Friend, and co-running a local film/TV youth advocacy program in Los Angeles. Seriously.


Current Team