About Me

 
What
Inspired me
to be a filmmaker...
 
Biography

     I developed a love of making movies as a young child when I saw how television made an impact on the community.  I grew up in the post-civil rights era, during a time of racial tension, conflict and strife.  It was a welcome relief to see programs that explored resolutions to these issues.  As a young child growing up in Detroit, Michigan I was fascinated by programs like “Soul” and “Colored People’s Time.” Two very rare television programs at the time, about the African American community.  I was also very much influenced by the Motown sound, and with “Hitsville USA” only a few blocks from where I grew up on the west side of Detroit, I knew I wanted to be a part of the entertainment world. 

     

      Fascinated by the stories depicted on the television that I could relate to, I vowed one day I would be a part of it. I began as a volunteer at the Detroit public television station, where I soon landed a job as an associate producer, and later promoted as Producer of the prestigious, local Emmy nominated and award-winning “Detroit Black Journal.”  One of the longest running premier shows that chronicles the vast and rich cultural heritage of African Americans in Detroit and worldwide.

    

     While working on Detroit Black Journal, I traveled to Senegal West Africa and later Suriname South America to produce documentaries on the rich and diverse cultures of these countries.  These trips were life-changing and allowed me to more readily explore stories on the African continent.  Several years after my first trip to Africa, I was offered an opportunity to live and work in Lagos, Nigeria. I’ve written a feature film entitled “A DELICATE BALANCE,” which is inspired by my time living and working on the African continent.

     Deborah is an award winning independent Director/Writer/Producer. She is recipient of The International Black Independent Film, Video & Screenplay Competition Screenplay Finalist award for the screenplay “Dreammakers” (Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Inc.). Her credits include former Series Producer/Writer for local Emmy nominated, award winning “Detroit Black Journal” and “Detroit Black News” of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) WTVS, where she produced news, public and cultural affairs programming. For PBS Deborah was recipient of the National Black Programming Consortium, “Prized Pieces” Award for the documentary “Mudra Afrique,” shot on location in Senegal West Africa.  At PBS Deborah was a producer on the Emmy award winning documentary about the, “Third New World Festival of the African Diaspora” shot on location in Suriname, South America. The American Black Journal Archives features a collection of programs produced by Deborah on the following website: http://abj.matrix.msu.edu/shows.php?year=1980  She also served as Television Training Instructor for the Nigerian Television Authority (Jacaranda International LTD), in Lagos, Nigeria.

    

    Deborah has under development a screenplay entitled “A DELICATE BALANCE” to be produced as a feature film.  She wrote and directed the short film CHOICES that was recognized as an Official Selection for the North Bay Art and Film Festival (Benicia, CA), received The Best Shorts Competition, Award of Recognition; Women Filmmakers, and received a Special Mention award from the Global Shorts online film festival, (Los Angeles, CA).  The short film CHOICES was  also nominated as  best short film by the San Diego Black Film Festival (2019).

    

     She holds a B.A. in Television/Radio/Film from Michigan State University, and Masters of Science degree in Telecommunications Management from Golden Gate University.  She also attended New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications graduate program, Tisch School of the Arts.  She was a  student with the Writers  Boot Camp (Los Angeles, CA),  the BluePrint for Breakthrough Filmmaker's Success Lab (Los Angeles, CA), Spike Lee Independent Film-making Masterclass and Shonda Rhimes Writing for Television Masterclass.  Deborah also serves on the screening committee for Beyond Borders: Diversity in Cannes Film Festival and as a Submission Ambassador (2019 and 2020 cycles).

 

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©2019 by Deborah Ray-Sims: Director Writer Producer.

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