Deborah Riley Draper is an award-winning and critically-acclaimed filmmaker, motivational speaker and advertising agency veteran. Variety Magazine named Draper to their “2016 Top 10 Documakers to Watch“ list. She is a 2018 TEDx speaker, 2019 Facebook SEEN Initiative participant and frequent guest on panels and in media speaking on storytelling, diversity and advertising. Her 2019 short film Illegal Rose starring Jasmine Guy tells the story of a disengaged nurse who accidentally kidnaps a 9 year-old ICE Detention Center runaway. Draper adapted the screenplay and will direct her next project, Coffee Will Make You Black, which is produced by Octavia Spencer and Tate Taylor based on the coming-of-age novel of the same name. Her 2016 documentary, Olympic Pride, American Prejudice (www.1936olympicsmovie.com), tells the untold story of 18 African Americans who defied Hitler and Jim Crow in 1936 and is a 2017 nominee for the NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Documentary Film and qualified the 2017 Oscars. The film world-premiered at the 2016 LA Film Festival and is an official selection at many festivals, including the Traverse City Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, Cambridge International Film Festival (UK), and the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.
Her debut film, Versailles ’73: American Runway Revolution (www.versailles73movie.com), opened New York Fashion Week and Toronto Fashion Week in 2012. Versailles ‘73 is the first intimate look at the infamous Palace of Versailles fashion show fundraiser, which catapulted the American ready-to-wear to global prominence. The film was theatrical released and premiered on Viacom’s Logo TV in September 2015. Draper will serve as executive producer of the upcoming feature film version of the optioned documentary.
Draper’s leadership in advertising can be seen in campaigns for Lamborghini, Coca-Cola classic, FedEx and adidas. She has earned two regional Emmys, a Gold Effie, and several Addy Awards.