Diane Paragas

She // Her // Hers

[ID: A portrait of a Filipino American with dark brown hair and large tortoiseshell glasses. She looks directly at the viewer, smiling, and resting her head in her right hand.]

Brooklyn, NY
2022 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the USA Ambassadors.

Diane Paragas is an award-winning writer/director, editor, cinematographer, and producer of narrative features, documentaries, and commercials.

In 2019, Paragas completed her debut narrative feature, Yellow Rose, about an undocumented Filipino American teen pursuing her dream of becoming a country music singer. The film won over a dozen grand jury and audience awards and was released theatrically by Sony Pictures to critical acclaim, taking best of 2020 awards from Variety, Rotten Tomatoes, and Entertainment Tonight.

She owns and operates Civilian Studios, a Brooklyn-based production company. In 2012, she co-directed with Nelson George the feature-length documentary Brooklyn Boheme, which highlights artists including Spike Lee, Chris Rock, and Rosie Perez and won the Black Reel Award for Best TV Documentary. She is currently in production for The Three Lives of David Wong. The film, which uses puppetry to tell its story about a wrongfully convicted undocumented immigrant, is supported by the Sundance Institute, the Bertha Foundation, and the Center for Asian American Media.

Her next film is a bold pop opera entitled Lizards, which follows the journey of a young Filipina with a magical lizard who eventually becomes a guerrilla in Japanese-occupied Philippines during World War II. She is also attached to direct By the Waters of Babylon, written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Robert Schenkkan.

Paragas is a 2020 recipient of the prestigious Creative Capital Award. She was also selected for Gold House’s A100 list of Most Impactful Asians of 2020.

In her spare time, she is a short-order cook, driver, and part-time schoolteacher for her six-year-old daughter.

Portrait photo by Harry Paragas.

  • Artwork by Diane Paragas
    Still of Eva Noblezada from Yellow Rose. Courtesy of Sony Pictures
    [ID: A young woman with chin-length hair looks out past the camera, wistfully. She is in focus against the blurred natural scene behind her and wears earpods and a ringer t-shirt.]
  • Artwork by Diane Paragas
    Still of Princess Punzalan from Yellow Rose. Courtesy of Sony Pictures.
    [ID: In the foreground, a woman, shot from the shoulders up, leans over to stare at the floor. She is seated in a dim room with several wooden benches and bright orange coolers slightly out of focus behind her.]
  • Artwork by Diane Paragas
    Still from The Three Lives of David Wong. Courtesy of Civilian Studios.
    [ID: A puppet lies outstretched on a cot in a brick-walled cell. It has a large head and blunt features that appear carved and is wearing an orange jumpsuit and outsized brown shoes.]
Artwork by Diane Paragas Artwork by Diane Paragas Artwork by Diane Paragas