Director Diane Paragas’ work spans commercials, documentaries, narrative films, and branded content with much of it rooted in the stories of real people. On the advertising side, Paragas has directed campaigns for Time Warner, Playtex, Covergirl, American Airlines, Hertz and Proust.com, the latter a First Place winner in Google’s TV for All Contest.
Paragas was born in Minneapolis but was repatriated to the Philippines when she was a year old. She returned to the US at age four and spent the rest of her youth in Lubbock, Texas, where she studied painting, music, and film. She began her career as a producer with boutique ad agency LLT. She later joined MTV and helped to launch MTV Asia and also worked for Discovery Asia. It was there that she began to focus on documentary filmmaking.
Paragas’s films have appeared on PBS, SHOWTIME, Discovery, MTV, Bravo and BET. Brooklyn Boheme, made in tandem with writer-critic, Nelson George, premiered on Showtime in February 2012, and celebrated the Afro-American arts renaissance centered in Fort Greene Brooklyn, featuring Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Rosie Perez and Saul Williams, among many others. While working on that film, Paragas was contracted by Burrell Advertising to direct, shoot, and edit a web-based travel series for American Airlines. Paragas’s most recent work is a documentary commercial for Playtex, focusing on a teenage dancer who struggles with self image.
Currently, Paragas is developing a narrative feature film, Yellow Rose, about an Asian-American woman pursuing a dream to become a country music star. She is also in production for a feature documentary about an wrongfully convicted illegal immigrant called “The Three Lives of David Wong.”
“To me, commercials, documentaries and narrative films are all about storytelling, ” she says. “I don’t distinguish between them. Whether I’m working with a big crew, a small crew or by myself, it’s all storytelling.”