Yesterday morning, DesiQuest launched on Kickstarter.
Inspired by the popular tabletop role playing game, Dungeons and Dragons, the show seems to have struck a chord with South Asian audiences.
Produced by creators Sandeep Parikh and Jasmine Bhullar, the concept touts a completely South Asian cast and reimagines D&D with South Asian mythos and traditions.
According to the Kickstarter page, Desi “is a word used to describe the people, cultures, and products of the Indian subcontinent and their diaspora, derived from Sanskrit देश (deśá), meaning ‘land, country.’”
While entertainment projects have traditionally been hard-pressed to fulfill crowdfunding goals on platforms like Kickstarter, EffinFunny, the production company behind the project, chose the nontraditional funding route strategically to invite South Asian audiences and allies into the creative process.
“We’re already in development on the project, and we’ve attached some incredible talent,” says Bhullar. “After shopping this around with traditional funding routes, we realized we wanted to maintain control of the creative and invite our Desi audience into the iterative process in a powerful way that allows them to be fully represented. This is such an important project for our team because we know the weight of being tokenized in entertainment, and we want our audience to be heard and involved in the finished project. Kickstarter has been a great platform for creating that kind of community.”
Parikh and Bhullar had good instincts with the crowdfunding strategy – their project was fully funded within six hours of launch. As of the time of this writing, DesiQuest has raised more than $65,000 on its way to its first stretch goal of $100,000.
“It’s incredibly rare out here in the US, to create a production that has all Desi cast,” says the team behind the project. “We’re usually competing with each other for the one guest spot on shows with a similar format. So, whether you are Desi yourself or not, if you want to see more highly skilled and highly engaging BROWN faces on screen, weaving epic tales inspired by mythology and lore from the Indian sub-continent, then frankly, we need YOUR support to make it happen.”
To support this project, contribute here.