Top 5 Business Women Leaders

“Lights, Camera, Empowerment: Angelena Bonet’s Inspiring Journey to Change The World”

In the realm of filmmaking, there exists a luminary whose work not only captivates audiences but also illuminates the human spirit. Meet Angelena Bonet, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, singer-songwriter, and humanitarian, whose journey from the glitzy world of Australian supermodeling to the realm of multi-award-winning films is nothing short of remarkable. Despite facing two life-changing tragedies, she channeled her pain into a powerful force for good, founding Crystal Heart Productions with a resolute determination to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Angelena’s mission extends beyond the silver screen, as she passionately interviews inspirational women from diverse backgrounds for her talk show, Heart of the Matter. With a multitude of awards, including the prestigious ‘Humanitarian Award,’ adorning her illustrious career, Angelena’s message of peace, love, and unity resonates not just through her films but also through her very being. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the transformative journey of this extraordinary filmmaker, shedding light on her struggles, triumphs, and unyielding commitment to creating a better world through the magic of cinema.

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you started your journey as a filmmaker, singer-songwriter, and humanitarian?

I grew up in Sydney, Australia and first appeared on national television at the age of four on a preschool show called Romper Room with my twin brother. It was filmed at Channel 7 Television Studios near where I lived and I can still remember having the best time. It no doubt had an impact on me. I began ballet lessons that same year and piano lessons at six. Dancing was my passion and I studied jazz and tap from the age of ten. I then continued my dance studies as well as singing and drama at The Australian College of Entertainment during high school. I was discovered at a hair salon that same year when I was eighteen years old and asked to model for Vogue Australia. I then modeled part-time while studying and got my first job as a secretary the following year. A top model agent then scouted me at twenty and things just really took off from there. The very next day I was booked on a television soap opera Breakers where they wrote me into the script and I was on that show, which aired in 50 countries, for the next two years. I was then on the cover with a ten page spread of the three biggest selling issues of Inside Sport magazine (Australian version of Sports Illustrated) and was named ‘The New Australian Supermodel’ on national news when I returned to Sydney after modeling in Milan. I began my career in Sydney, Australia as a professional model and actress after training in dance, classical piano and acting during my childhood. My career took me to Milan, New York, L.A and Canada where I have based myself since 2010. I then hosted the FIFA World Cup Show and acted in Ghostly Encounters that same year and after experiencing the sudden passing of my fiancé and then a victim of a violent crime I decided to create my production company, Crystal Heart Productions in 2014 to produce content that empowers women and allows us to have our voices heard.

  1. What inspired you to establish Crystal Heart Productions and Crystal Heart Records?

Having experience the two life-changing tragedies I knew I wanted to help people. I wanted to create a web series that focussed on empowering women by having our voices heard. With my television, film and music background I decided starting me own film and music companies would be the perfect vehicle for me to express myself and create content that was positive and inspirational. I began Crystal Heart Productions in 2014 in Toronto and shortly after that Crystal Heart Records was born. I have had the privilege of meeting and interviewing incredible women in all parts of the world that are changing the world in their own right. It is a talk show that celebrates our uniqueness and women owning their power and sharing their wisdom and expertise. The films began in 2016 and the whole process has been healing for me and organic from the get-go. 

  1. Your documentary film tetralogy is highly acclaimed. Could you share with us the main themes and messages you aimed to convey through these films?

I began producing this film in 2016 after attending a women’s rights event for the One Billion Rising organization. I gave a public speech and interviewed attendees for my talk show Heart Of The Matter. A dear friend of mine suggested that I create a short film documenting my unique life experiences to help other people. I was reluctant at first as I was frightened to share my personal tragedies. However, the more I thought about it over the next few weeks the more I began to consider it and decided I would just make a 10 minute short film with footage of my speech and interviews and that would be it. Little did I know at that time what I was actually embarking on because that short film idea became a documentary feature film, Angelena: Change The World, and the first of my tetralogy and the catalyst for my documentary short film Change The World. The process was completely organic from the get-go and so cathartic. I knew that in order for the audience to understand what was driving my passion for aligning myself with non-profit organizations for violence against women and the story behind the music I had to explain what I have survived. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with the film once I had completed it because I was so focused on the work itself. My aim was purely on telling my story and was something that I had to do for myself. Putting the pieces of my life back together and using my voice to speak up against injustice was my sole intent. By reliving it and going right back to the beginning of my life was very healing indeed. It freed me because I had found my courage and couldn’t remain silent and I also got to remember all the magical experiences I have had and how wonderful my life has been. Once I had finished the film I then decided to submit it to a film festival in Los Angeles and it won ‘Best Inspirational Film’! It continued to win awards on the international film festival circuit and I could not have imagined it would be so well received around the world. This has been the most surprising aspect for me and it has brought me so much joy to know it has resonated in all cultures. I then got to work on my next film Angelena: Heart Of The Matter which is all about my talk show and features interviews with high profile women around the world inspiring change in their own right. That film also went on the international film festival circuit and won numerous awards. I then wanted to create a documentary short film to tell my story in under 40 minutes and that is how Change The World was born. This has been the film that has won in nearly every country and is still on the festival circuit because I am constantly receiving invitations. I then produced Angelena: Light At The End of the Tunnel and the fourth and final film of the tetralogy series is Angelena: Warrior Woman. Collectively, my films have won over 300 film festival awards including the ‘Humanitarian Award’ and the ‘Human Spirit Award’, numerous ‘Best Inspirational Film’, ‘Best Social Justice’, ‘Best Director, and “Best Original Soundtrack’ awards. I cannot express how grateful I am to all the festivals for their support. Telling my story was important for my soul and I hoped that if I could help just one woman then my suffering wouldn’t be in vain. These incredible awards are an absolute honor and bring me so much joy knowing I have been heard and touched others’ hearts. I always say that I have turned tragic into magic and I am so thankful to everyone for the support and kindness. The main themes are about overcoming adversity and women empowerment. My films are my personal journey woven into art and reflect universal themes of moving through grief and loss and violence against women.  I bring hope and comfort that you’re not alone and can too heal, rise above and thrive. 

  1. How did the tragic loss of your fiancé, Erick Deeby, influence your creative process and the creation of your album’s soundtrack?

These projects have definitely been a labor of love! The music actually began back in 2005 after I returned to Australia from modeling in Milan. My partner, Erick Deeby, was a record producer and musician who had written songs for bands and had songs in Hollywood soundtracks, including Marvel Comics and Brett Leonard films. He wanted to collaborate on my solo debut album and dedicate time to developing my sound. Over the next couple of years he wrote instrumental pieces of music for me and recorded the tracks in his recording studio. Even though we were together for the whole writing process, he was adamant I wait to write the lyrics and melody until he was completely finished so I could hear the finished tracks and then write from my heart. We were living in Sydney’s red light district, Kings Cross, and the bohemian vibe really fuelled the album. We both loved 80s music and artists like David Bowie, Stevie Nicks and Annie Lennox and wanted create something new but with those influences. He had just finished the recordings, we got engaged and three days later he suffered a major heart attack at our home. I performed CPR and he was in the Intensive Care Unit on life support for a week but tragically it had to be turned off. I promised him at his bedside that someday, somehow I would finish our special project. During my time of deep grief I moved to the country and began writing the lyrics to the instrumentals he had written for me. I never imagined I would be writing the songs without him here and it was so surreal. I got to channel all my emotions into the songs and having that outlet was what saved me. Each song is like a chapter of a book and is such a unique way of an album coming to be. It has been a natural process from day one and is now the soundtrack to my films. I recorded the vocals at Fox Studios, Australia and then produced the music videos in Sydney. Every component of the creative process has been magical and at times very difficult. In the period after his passing it was very hard for me to listen to the instrumentals or sing them without crying but now it is a real joy and I know I am making him proud.

  1. Your music has won numerous awards worldwide. How does it feel to have your work recognized on such a global scale?

It feels incredible to be recognized on a global scale and know the music I wrote with my late fiancé is being heard and touching hearts in all different countries and cultures. Erick and I knew when we began this project that what we were doing was special. To have our songs win “Best Music Video’, ‘Best Original Song’ and ‘Best Original Soundtrack’ at film festivals around the world brings me immense joy and I know Erick would be so excited also! It really is the icing on the cake for me because I never expected accolades and we only ever did this project for the love of each other and the music. It feels like a beautiful dream and I am very grateful and proud of myself for having the courage to continue after his passing. 

  1. Your personal experience as a survivor of a violent crime has led you to become a strong advocate for women’s rights. Can you discuss the importance of using your platform to speak out against such issues?

Using my platform to speak out against violence against women is something I am honored to do because it is very important. Creating Change The World and inspiring people around the world and touching their hearts is a wonderful gift that I am very grateful for. I have deep compassion for myself and every other woman who has suffered sexual violence and I am honored to use my voice for good and speak for those who can’t. My spirit couldn’t be silenced and to now be heard in every country is something so special and is very hard to describe. When I look back at what I have endured and the miracle of surviving the murder attempt to now winning these special awards is something I could never have imagined would happen! I vowed to make a stand and leave this world a better place than I found it and I am committed. Women are now finding their voice and self-worth and it is fabulous to see. I feel future generations will look back at this point in time with fascination, shock, and dismay and also awe at the courage women have shown by standing up and speaking out about the injustices and violence they have suffered since time immemorial. The social fabric is changing and I’m hopeful the momentum will continue and begin to move more quickly. I see the future in a positive light. I believe change is possible and that we are at the dawn of a new day. As more and more women are in leadership positions, the world will naturally become a more inclusive one and love will become the focus again. Violence will no longer be a silent global epidemic, all girls will receive an education, and helping others will become our primary goal. We have set the wheels in motion to ensure future generations have a safer and more equal world. My message is one of peace, love and unity and being an example of how to turn tragic into magic is the legacy I am creating. The more awareness and education the sooner our world will change. I have had so many men thank me for the work I do because they tell me they just weren’t aware how prevalent violence is. They have daughters or sisters and hearing me speak or seeing my films they are more in tune with the dangers and can better protect and parent in a more conscious way. 

  1. In what ways do you hope your work, both in film and music, contributes to empowering women and promoting social justice?

My film and music empower women and promote social justice because I am putting the spotlight on serious issues that need resolving. I have been transparent with my own experiences and that in itself gives other women permission to share their abuse or at least understand they are not alone. When they see my courage and how I refuse to be a victim they too know in their heart that they can heal and thrive again. I have interviewed women’s rights leaders such as President Obama’s Women’s Equality Advisor Tina Tchen, Tony award-winning playwright and activist Eve Ensler, CEO of Canadian Women’s Foundation, Paulette Senior and Australian Journalist and author, Tracey Spicer, to name but a few. I also cover red carpet events and interview documentary filmmakers and celebrities and community events and talk to people that are doing incredible work to try and change the world for the better. I cover topics such as motherhood and pregnancy, politics, film and music, gender equality and pay equity and any other topic that relates to women’s issues and empowerment. It is something that is really important to me and I feel so lucky to have met so many amazing women that inspire me. I love seeing women step into their power and use their voice and talents with purpose and be a beacon of hope for others. Essentially, that is what my talk show is all about. I hope by talking about these issues and not letting it be swept under the carpet contributes to changing the conversation and seeing women as beautiful and strong and the perpetrators as the weak cowards. Helping people see the truth is something I am very passionate about. 

  1. You’ve received numerous awards and honors for your films and music. Could you highlight some of the most significant acknowledgments and how they have impacted your career?

I am truly grateful to all the film festivals around the world for my awards. They are all special to me and I appreciate and celebrate them all. I love receiving ‘Best Inspirational Film’ awards or ‘Best Social Justice’ awards because they touch my heart knowing I am inspiring people or being a voice for such an important human rights issue. Winning the ‘Humanitarian Award’ at The Jane Austin International Film Festival, the ‘Human Spirit Award’ at DOCS Without Borders Film Festival in The Bahamas, the ‘Domestic Violence Prevention Networld Salute Award’ at the Bare Bones International Music & Film Festival in the U.S. and “Best Australian Director’ in London were definitely highlights for me. Of course the music awards such as ‘Best Original Soundtrack’, ‘Best Music Video’ and ‘Best Original Song’ are super special because of the journey and I know Erick would be so proud. These incredible acknowledgments have impacted my career immensely by giving me the credibility, recognition and has opened doors to being on juries such as the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, public speaking engagements, special guests at events and red carpets and involvement with non-profit organizations. On a personal level it has been very humbling and brought a sense of being heard and inner peace. It has connected me with likeminded people and taken me around the world and I am forever grateful to all the film festivals for their kindness and accolades.

  1. As a jury member for the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards and a judge for the Australian Directors Guild Awards, how do you approach the evaluation process and what qualities do you look for in exceptional filmmaking?

As a jury member for the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards I approach the evaluation process with care. I take this role very seriously as I know just how much hard work and passion goes into each film or TV Series. I am looking for work that touches me and has clear direction from the beginning through to the end. I am part of the Documentary Branch and there are different judging criteria such as editing, cinematography, direction and soundtrack but essentially it doesn’t matter what the genre is, it’s all about excellence. Work that is highly professional and the attention to detail is there is what definitely stands out. In a film, every frame counts and a great director knows how to make the film flow seamlessly and keep the viewers attention. I find the judging process exciting and I love seeing how many amazing filmmakers there are and the incredible work they are doing. Documentaries are educational and I enjoy learning about different subjects and hearing other people’s stories.

  1. Your recent single, “Tragic Fairytale” has been released. What inspired this particular song, and what message do you hope it conveys to your listeners?

It has been so exciting to release Tragic Fairytale to streaming platforms. It was the first track I wrote six weeks after Erick passed while I was on the way to my twin brother’s wedding. I had the tune in my mind so I grabbed a pen and paper and had it written in about fifteen minutes. The message of this song is that true love can never die. I tell the story of how we met, what happened and my experience of being with him in ICU before I had to say goodbye. This song really is my heart and I hope it brings other people comfort in their time of grief. Losing someone dear is universal and part of being human and I often have people say to me that this song touched their heart or they shed a tear for a loved one. I love that people can relate to it and that they feel something. I wrote all the lyrics and melody over the next few months with my emotions so raw. As I wrote each song I could feel my heart healing and it was the gift that saved my life. Without these songs I don’t think I would be here. Our album sat on the shelf for years and to be honest, I was so proud of myself for completing them and keeping my promise but I wasn’t sure if I would ever release them. Then when I began producing my first documentary, I decided to include them, and in subsequent films, to tell my whole story. I know he would be so proud of me for completing our album and all that I am achieving. To have our songs win “Best Music Video’, ‘Best Original Song’ and ‘Best Original Soundtrack’ at film festivals around the world brings me immense joy and I know Erick would be so excited also! It really is the icing on the cake for me because I never expected accolades and we only ever did this project for the love of each other and the music.

  1. Are there any upcoming projects, films, or albums that you’re currently working on and would like to share with us?

I am busy working on my new short documentary film called The Dragonfly Dreaming Project. I recently released a single Tragic Fairytale and have upcoming radio interviews booked. I also have new songs written so I will be back in the recording studio later this year to lay the vocal tracks. I recently interviewed American author, Bailey Gaddis, for Heart Of The Matter and have some exciting international guests lined up. I’m in the midst of wrapping Change The World up on the international film festival circuit and releasing the “Angelena” tetralogy feature film series on Vimeo On Demand July 31. I will be doing more public speaking and screenings with Q&A for Change The World.

  1. Throughout your journey, what has been the most fulfilling aspect of being a documentary filmmaker, singer-songwriter, and humanitarian?

The most fulfilling aspect of being a documentary filmmaker, singer-songwriter and humanitarian has been knowing I am making a positive impact in the world, inspiring others and touching their hearts. I absolutey love the creative and organic aspect of my art. I enjoy everything from designing my official film posters to editing and directing to creating the trailers and interviewing people from all walks of life. The music component is magical and bringing my vision to fruition with the videos and producing the record has brought me so much joy. Having a passion and purpose in life is what is fulfilling and to be able to channel my emotions and talents into projects that inspire and change hearts and minds is a gift that I am very grateful for. My journey has been unique and I feel very blessed to walk this path and make a difference in others’ lives and bring hope and healing to those that need it.

  1. What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers or musicians who want to make a positive impact through their art?

My advice to aspiring filmmakers or musicians who want to make a positive impact throught their art is to always reamin true to you and create from your heart. Keep your art pure as well as your intentions. Film and music are important genres that can reach people all around the world and change the world. Films are the way we as humans make sense of our lives and the world around us and how society can evolve. Music is the universal language that can cause a revolution. The energy of music can be very healing and positively affect our emotions and moods. If you have a cuase close to your heart or your own life experience that you want to share or create more awareness then I would encourage you to use your art as a channel for your soul expression. The impact you have can help even one person and that is a gift.

  1. In conclusion, can you summarize your overall message of peace, love, and unity that you strive to share with the world through your work?

My message of peace, love and unity is something this world needs right now, more than ever. We are at a point in history where we have the choice to step out of the dark ages and into the light. One in three women and girls will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime and in some countries the statistics are even higher. This should be enough for people to take to the streets protesting about this global epidemic and international emergency. Those statistics are outrageous and highlights just how many abusers we have in this world and the attitude that women are less than men. My vision for our world is that everyone finds inner peace and love for themselves and their fellow human family and come together as one. When men find peace and love for themselves they will no longer be capable of hurting a woman or child. And when women use their voices and stand up and speak out in one accord powerful things happen. Our voices and standing in solidarity are the magic ingredients that heal and change the world. I want to leave this world better than I found it and love is always the answer.

As the credits roll on Angelena Bonet’s awe-inspiring journey, one thing becomes abundantly clear – she is not just a filmmaker, she is a force of nature. From her humble beginnings as a young dancer and model to her transformation into a multi-talented artist and humanitarian, Angelena has fearlessly embraced every twist and turn of her life’s narrative. Through her award-winning films, soul-stirring music, and heartfelt interviews, she has woven a tapestry of hope, healing, and unity that continues to touch hearts across the globe. Her legacy serves as a shining beacon of strength and resilience, reminding us all that in the face of adversity, we have the power to turn tragic into magic. Angelena Bonet’s message of peace, love, and empowerment will undoubtedly echo for generations to come, inspiring countless souls to rise above and create positive change in the world.