In White Hall, Arkansas, a small town of roughly 3,000 people, a little black boy watched television in his parent’s living room with dreams of becoming a filmmaker. He would go on to become a storyteller that elevated the voices of marginalized communities and a curator of narratives that moved social consciousness forward.
This is the story of Dui Jarrod, a member of the inaugural Creative Class.
Since being inducted into iOne Digital’s inaugural Creative Class, the Arkansas native has been named one of the 15 Best Screenwriters of 2019 by Black Talent TV. His webseries King Ester – a story of a bold-living transsexual woman faced with the difficult decision on whether to stay or leave New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approaches – was also an official selection at the 2019 American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and won the award for Best Webisode at the 2019 Bronze Lens Festival.
It’s safe to say that Dui Jarrod has arrived!
A lot has changed since last year. How did your induction into iOne Digital’s inaugural Creative Class impact your career?
Being a part of the 2018 Creative Class opened so many doors for me. It provided me with an opportunity to showcase my work to a larger audience and I was able to build a ton of meaningful relationships within the film and television industry.
Your webseries King Ester, has captivated audiences over the past year and has received a lot of attention. What inspired you to create the series?
King Ester is the only project that I have written that actually scared me because it was not a direct reflection of my life story. Many creatives write stories within their comfort zone but I wanted to create something that expanded beyond the common narratives you typically see with black films. I’m very thankful for the team around me for believing in the vision and helping me tell the story of Ester.
How was your trip recently to the Bronze Lens Festival and what was your biggest takeway from that experience?
It’s was beautiful to share energy and ideas and war stories of surviving this industry with other creatives. My connection with other filmmakers was affirming and my biggest takeaway.
How did it feel to win the award Best Webisode at the Bronze Lens Festival?
Warner Media is leaning forward. I love the work they create and have desired to work with Michael Quigley and Valerie Meraz for some time. Having Warner Media award me the Best Webisode award is beyond words. All of the hardships it took to create “King Ester” was worth that one moment of pure joy. I appreciate those coins too!
You received a proclamation from the City of Atlanta that was presented by Council Antonio Brown during your event at Judget Hatchett’s office. How did that feel?
Honestly, I’m still processing that. As a black man, it’s very seldom to hear what you’ve done being spoken to you. And for Councilman Antonio Brown to speak those beautiful words to me and have Judge Hatchett affirm his sentiments is something I really can’t put into words. I felt it. I heard it. I was there, but I’m still in the process of opening my heart and truly receiving it. Humbled doesn’t even begin to express that experience.
King Ester has a unique cinematic feel that pushed the boundaries of what you may typically see on screen. How would you describe your creative style?
My style is art-forward, personal and dark. When people look at my films, I want them to feel like they are looking at a painting. I try to use the screen as a moving colorful canvas that evokes truth and authenticity, which is the common thread for all of my work.
What is your advice for emerging storytellers that aspire to follow in your footsteps?
Find your voice as soon as possible, create what you want and in due time the right people find you. Sometimes as a creative, you get caught up into trying to catch up with the industry’s trends and that is what hinders your long-term growth as a storyteller. Be bold and ignore the industry because authentic voices are the only voices people want to hear.
What can we expect from Dui Jarrod this year?
In 2020, I want people to say Dui Jarrod is creating narratives that push communities forward. I want my work to uplift communities that are often times overlooked and misunderstood. And of course, I want to continue to grow and tell powerful stories that celebrate diversity within our community.
To learn more about Dui Jarrod, visit http://www.duijarrod.com
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