About Deborah

Deborah Libby is a Chicago-based documentary filmmaker and photographer.

Raised in California’s central valley, an area rich in agriculture and the legendary “Bakersfield Sound,” she made her way to the Midwest via Seattle, SE Alaska, and the Yukon Territory of Canada. The surrounding mountains, water, and lush forests of the Pacific Northwest influenced Deborah’s exploration of themes relating to man’s symbiotic relationship with the natural world.

In 2015, she traveled to the Peruvian jungle to shoot principal photography for her master’s thesis, Wise Medicine, a short documentary about the global spread of indigenous plant medicine shamanism. Her 2014 film The Healing Song, a documentary about gong sound healing, has screened at festivals worldwide, including the Boise Film Festival and Clean Shorts Festival where it received nominations for Best Student Short and Best Short Documentary. Deborah is a 2015 recipient of the Festival Inventive Grant (FIG) Award for her narrative/documentary hybrid short Surrender, and a nominee for the 2015 Princess Grace Foundation Award. She served as assistant editor on the Emmy-nominated PBS series Notes From the Field, and assistant camera on the narrative feature Rogers Park, directed by Kyle Henry. She is currently editing the web series America in Transition, a collection of episodes highlighting the challenges of transgender people in marginalized communities, and assistant editing the upcoming feature FansSpeak (working title), a documentary about Cubs fans.

Interviewing subject Dennis McKenna at his home in Minnesota

Themes represented in Deborah’s current documentary work explore the evolution of ancient wisdom and technologies as we expand our connected, global awareness. Her stories raise questions about ownership of knowledge and the sovereignty of consciousness. At times raw and controversial, her films aspire to present an honest and compassionate view of the desire to improve one’s self.

Deborah received her BFA in Graphic Design from Central Washington University and completed her MFA in Documentary Media at Northwestern University.

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