LA Times – Movie goals: issues to tissues to checkbooks

If there’s one thing activist Hollywood increasingly understands, it’s the potential for turning a message-driven film into a political movement. And perhaps no one understands that better than Bonnie Abaunza, the founder of Artists for Amnesty.

“Bonnie is the Wizardess of Oz in the [film industry’s] human rights community,” said activist John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project and co-author, with actor Don Cheadle, of a book on the Darfur crisis, “Not on Our Watch.” “Look behind the curtain on many of the key campaigns and there she is.”

In fact, you could think of her as one of those new-wave product placement people, though she’s out to awaken and persuade rather than to sell. Her notion of cinematic success comes with the hope that when people leave their multiplex in Iowa or South Carolina, they will take home not only two hours of entertainment but also the will to act, whether for a better future for Africa’s child soldiers, an honest diamond market or religious tolerance.

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