The Three Lives of David Wong

A feature documentary directed by Diane Paragas & produced by Leslie Norville




“The Three Lives of David Wong” is a ground-breaking feature documentary following the harrowing journey of an undocumented, Chinese-American man facing a life sentence for a crime he did not commit. David finds hope in a rag-tag Asian-American activist group who eventually became the friends and family he longed for. Told through a bold mixture of shadow puppetry, handmade marionettes, computer animation and live action verité, we follow David through his early years in China, through his conviction, life in prison, trial and eventual exoneration and deportation. The film, which unfolds over 30 years, is an inspiring story of triumph and perserverance against the most impossible odds.

The film, directed by Diane Paragas and produced by Leslie Norville, has received support from the Sundance Creative Producing Lab, The Bertha Foundation, CAAM and John T and Katherine D MacArthur Foundation.




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Diane Paragas

Diane Paragas (Director/Producer) has a diverse directing background from documentaries, commercials, to narrative films and branded content with much of it rooted in the stories of real people. Her first documentary film Kababayan was released on PBS and explored the Filipino-American experience. She also directed for the Peabody Award and Emmy Award winning Egg the Arts Show, as well as programs for Bravo, BET and CBS. Her most recent documentary Brooklyn Boheme¸ co-directed by Nelson George, celebrated the African American arts movement that launched the careers of Spike Lee, Chris Rock and Rosie Perez to name a few. The film went on to win the Black Reel award for Best Television Documentary and premiered on SHOWTIME.  Currently, Paragas is developing a narrative feature film, Yellow Rose, about an undocumented Filipino-American girl pursuing a dream to become a country music star. “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.”



Leslie norville

Leslie Norville (Producer) most recently produced the feature documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale, a documentary about Misty Copeland the first African American female principal dancer at New York’s American Ballet Theatre. The film was named best documentary by the African-American Film Critics Association and was released theatrically in the US in 2015 by Sundance Selects. Some of Leslie’s additional credits include Finding The Funk, an official selection at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival about the history of funk music, narrated by Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson of the Roots; and Disdain The Mundane an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary short featuring legendary NY Knick, Walt 'Clyde' Frazier. Leslie is also the recipient of both the Tribeca Documentary Fund and Funding Exchange grants. Leslie’s focus is on character driven films that reflect cultural perspectives rarely seen on screen. She’s currently developing a feature adaptation of Lori L. Tharps’ popular memoir Kinky Gazpacho, about a young black woman’s coming of age as she travels through Spain. This will be her first narrative feature as a producer. 


Glen Zipper

Glen Zipper (Executive Producer) is an Oscar-winning producer whose credits include The Last Play at Shea about rock icon Billy Joel, the Grammy winning Foo Fighters: Back and Forth and Martin Scorsese's Emmy winning George Harrison: Living in the Material World. In 2011, he produced Undefeated along with Seth Gordon, Daniel Lindsay, Rich Middlemas, and Ed Cunningham. Undefeated was purchased by Harvey Weinstein of The Weinstein Company and went on to win the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary. In 2015, Glen produced The Nightmare, a non-fiction horror film from director Rodney Ascher (Room 237). The Nightmare premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and has been reviewed as "the scariest movie of the decade" and "one of the scariest documentaries ever.


Cecilia Mejia

Cecilia Mejia (Co-Producer) has worked in development for several nonprofit organizations, including NGOs affiliated with the UN. Having worked for the former Assistant Attorney General of the Charities Bureau, she was inspired to pursue a Master’s degree in Public Administration and Affairs. She followed up her studies at the Columbia Business School Developing Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals. She’s worked with several grassroots organizations focusing on underrepresented communities, which lead to her working on a short documentary about the struggles of detained undocumented families. She produced a short film (YELLOW ROSE), and is in development for a number of projects.  She most recently worked on the Development team for Scenarios USA, a nonprofit that uses film and writing to engage young people on issues of social justice, identity and health by asking “What matters to you?