Make hometown filmmaker number 1 and become a fashionista - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Make hometown filmmaker number 1 and become a fashionista

Deborah Riley Draper Deborah Riley Draper

From the dirt roads of Liberty City to the Cannes Film Festival, Savannah's Deborah Riley Draper has certainly come a long way. The Windsor Forest High School Graduate worked right here at WTOC with us in 1991 in our promotions department and many of us remembered hearing her talk about making films, but who could have ever imagined anything as big as this.

Back in the 1970's when Deborah was just a little girl growing up with her mother, Jeanette Coleman Riley, she always told her she wanted to become a filmmaker.  In fact, Deborah's dream was to do her first feature film about her mother who she admired so much.  Tragically, her mother passed away before Deborah could make that film, but she never forgot about the dream they shared. It turned into something completely different. 

This is "Versailles 73: American Runway Revolution"! Deborah wrote, produced and directed this award-winning fashion documentary. It's the story of  what was supposed to be a simple fundraiser to restore the Chateau de Versailles in France that turned into what she calls a fashion smackdown- the French designers against the American designers. "The French got wind that Halston and Oscar De la Renta were involved. The French were like my gosh we certainly are not going to be upstaged on our own territory by these five young spunky upstarts. They started pouring things into their show they added Josephine Baker, song and dance. The program was two and half hours. The American show was only 35 minutes long,  but it was clean, precise and modern had new textiles had new designs it had the wrap dress that Stephen Burrows did," explained the filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper.

Another shocker- leading the way for the Americans on that runway in the line of 36 models, 12 African American models.  That had never been seen before either and those women are credited with revolutionizing the runway.

"They actually played something that had never been heard before at the Château. They played Al Green and Barry White. They were so taken. They threw their programs up in the air and yelled bravo! It was the night America was crowned as a fashion leader in ready to wear," added Deborah Riley Draper.

That's just sneak peek at the story that has been left untold for far too long. According to the New York Times and L.A. Times,  Deborah tells the story superbly. She is making quite a name for herself around the world collecting stellar reviews. Now she's bringing her masterpiece back home where the dream began. Deborah will be at the premier in Savannah, which takes place at the SCAD Museum of Art on Monday, April 15 at 2 p.m. Admission is free. All I can say is watch out  Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino and Clint Eastwood, there's a new filmmaker who's hot on your trail.

Let's show this hometown girl that Savannah can make her film number 1 on iTunes and Amazon or



Now, I know there are plenty of fashionistas out there. Here's a chance to show off your favorite outfits. "Like" my WTOC Dawn Baker Facebook page and post your favorite fashion photo. Our filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper will select a winner after the premiere.  If your photo is the most fashionable, you will win an autographed copy of the DVD .  

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