projects & press.
Deborah Riley Draper is a filmmaker, storyteller, and two-time NAACP Image Award nominee in Outstanding Literary Work - Biography and Outstanding Documentary. Deborah brings a unique perspective to filmmaking forged from her breakthrough advertising campaigns with BBDO and Ogilvy and her cultural curiosity as a documentarian.
The Ad Council recognized Deborah as a 2021 Champion for Good. Deborah brought her creative lens to their vital COVID-19 Vaccine Education Initiative. Deborah wrote and directed two campaigns highlighting stories from descendants of the U.S. Public Health Services Syphilis Study at Tuskegee and families from rural communities around the U.S.
Deborah directed and produced "The Legacy of Black Wall Street," a two-part special on OWN airing during June 2021 to honor the Greenwood community on the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Massacre. Deborah's "Twenty Pearls," the documentary homage to the 113 years of history and sisterhood of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., is the first original documentary to premiere on Comcast Xfinity's Black Experience platform. The film aired in March of 2021 and featured Madam Vice President Kamala Harris. Deborah co-wrote "Force of Beauty," an audible memoir about three Black matriarchs in Newark released in February 2021. Draper will direct her screen adaptation of the classic coming-of-age novel Coffee Will Make You Black.
Draper is a 2016 Film Independent Lab Fellow and Variety Magazine's "2016 Top 10 Documakers to Watch." Her documentary, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice, the untold story of 18 African Americans who defied Hitler and Jim Crow at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, was one of only three nominees for the 2017 Peace and Sport Award in Monaco, presented by HRH Prince Albert. Draper's debut film, Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution, opened New York Fashion Week and Toronto Fashion Week and premiered on Logo TV in 2015. MOMA, SCAD, Guggenheim Bilboa, and the de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco have integrated the film with their major fashion exhibitions.
Draper's leadership in advertising shines in campaigns for Lamborghini, Coca-Cola classic, FedEx, and adidas. She earned two regional Emmys, a Gold Effie, and several Addy Awards.