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Award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper takes on immigration issue in new short film, “Illegal Rose,” starring Jasmine Guy


The short film “Illegal Rose,” which tackles the timely issue of immigration, is kicking off its film festival run. Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper, the film stars Jasmine Guy (“A Different World,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Vampire Diaries”) and introduces newcomer Lucca Rodriguez-Pedraza.

“Illegal Rose” is set to screen at the BronzeLens Film Festival as a part of the festival’s Cinema and Social Justice Sunday lineup. The BronzeLens screening will be held Sunday, Aug. 25 at 1:00 p.m. at the Fulton County Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road SW, Atlanta. Doors open at noon. Tickets are free but must be reserved at

“Illegal Rose” tells the story of an unlikely friendship between Rose, a tired, disengaged, almost retired nurse who accidentally kidnaps Sylvie, a 7-year-old ICE detention center runaway, on the 4th of July. The two women change each others lives and perspectives. “Illegal Rose” explores respect, decency and kindness through two people of different generations, ages, races and legal status, as they navigate their choices and the consequences.

“My vision with ‘Illegal Rose’ is to create a dynamic and thoughtful conversation about humankind and the importance of being both human and kind to one another,” Riley Draper said. “I hope to build empathy, encourage audiences to deeply and directly immerse themselves in the circumstances of all others, and prompt action and engagement on the neighborhood, community and national level in a positive way. ‘Illegal Rose’ reminds us that we are all human and no human being is illegal.”

Comcast will host a private screening for its employees in mid-August. The film also is slated to screen at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival and the Capital City Urban Film Festival in Austin, Texas in September with more screening announcements coming soon.

Riley Draper is a 2017 NAACP Image Awards nominee, on the 2016 Variety magazine “Top 10 Documakers to Watch” list, and a 2018 Facebook SEEN Initiative alumna. She has written and directed the award-winning films “Versailles ‘73: American Runway Revolution” and “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice.” Riley Draper will direct her screen adaptation of “Coffee Will Make You Black,” produced by Octavia Spencer, Gabrielle Union and Tate Taylor.

“Illegal Rose” is presented by Russell M. Williamson Sr. in association with Williamson Media Group and Coffee Bluff Pictures. Executive producers include: Russell M. Williamson Sr., Cheryl Polote-Williamson, Elaine M. Brown, Nina-White Hodge, Michael A. Draper, Toni T. Ellis, Laurie Evans, Dretona Maddox, Rachel Mathews, Carla Tyson, and James Hutchinson.

Trailer available here:
Facebook: illegalrosefilm
Instagram: Coffeebluffpictures


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