Bonnie Abaunza is renowned in both the entertainment and non-profit worlds for successful campaigns forwarding vital causes.
In 2001 Bonnie founded the Artists for Amnesty program for Amnesty International. She served as its director until 2007, mobilizing the Hollywood community for human rights and raising Amnesty’s profile, and awareness of human rights issues, in the entertainment industry. She co-produced four film festivals, four Academy Awards viewing parties to benefit Amnesty, produced quarterly entertainment industry salons and more than 50 feature and documentary screening events, fundraisers and art exhibits. She worked on numerous high profile campaigns including human trafficking and slavery, ending rape as a tool of war, rehabilitation of child soldiers, justice for the murdered women of Juarez, ending small arms trafficking, protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, and other global issues.
Artists for Amnesty ambassadors and supporters she mobilized include: Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Nicolas Cage, Halle Berry, Mira Sorvino, Patrick Stewart, Benicio del Toro, Don Cheadle, Leonardo diCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou, Ryan Gosling, Oliver Stone, Hans Zimmer, Paul Greengrass, America Ferrera, Charlize Theron, Tom Morello, Gregory Nava, Patricia Arquette, Yoko Ono, Geoffrey Rush, Phillip Noyce, Martin Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson and others.
As a consultant for the United Nations agency, the International Labour Organization, she assisted with outreach to the entertainment community. She launched the ILO’s artist engagement program, Artworks (http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/artworks/lang–en/index.htm) and spearheaded their End Slavery Now , 50 for Freedom, and Red Card to Child Labour campaigns. The artists Bonnie activated for ILO campaigns include Robin Wright, Cher, Pharrell, Eva Longoria, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Mila Kunis, Nicholas Cage, Olivia Wilde, Colin Farrell and many others.
She has developed and executed the social impact campaigns, co-ordinating celebrity and NGO support, for groundbreaking films including Emmy-nominated documentary The Hunting Ground, which tackles campus sexual assault, and Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-nominated The Look of Silence about the 1966 genocide in Indonesia (both nominated for Best Documentary Oscar in 2016), The Promise by Oscar winner Terry George, and the documentary Intent to Destroy, both about the Armenian genocide, Cries from Syria (HBO) from Oscar nominated director Yzgeny Afineevsky, about the crisis in Syria, Bending the Arc, about Paul Farmer and Partners in Health, Harry and Snowman, which focuses on animal rescue, and The Heart of Nuba, about the genocide and crimes against humanity occurring in the Nuba mountains of Sudan, Angelina Jolie’s new animated feature The Breadwinner, and others. Her campaigns have moved the needle on critical issues including genocide with the Hotel Rwanda campaign, conflict diamonds with Blood Diamond, and abuses by the food industry with Food, Inc.
Bonnie facilitated the release of the music video of Diane Warren and Lady Gaga’s song “Till it Happens to You”, from The Hunting Ground’s soundtrack, which was nominated for an Oscar and won an Emmy. Lady Gaga performed the song at the 2016 Oscars. The music video has been viewed over 37 million times and has been embraced as the anthem for the movement to end sexual assault on college campuses.
John Prendergast, Founder, Enough Project
John Schrieber, former Senior Vice President, Participant Media
“She invented a new type of social activism and cause marketing. She’s a real pioneer in the merging of celebrity and issues in a way that produces tangible materials and positive change”.