Michelle C. Bonilla – the multi-talented spit-fire of a Latina and openly out lesbian – is now extending her craft wearing for the first time two additional new hats as Executive Producer and scriptwriter to deliver her debut short film, "Slip Away".
If you’re a fan of "Grey’s Anatomy" you were probably first a fan of "ER" and most certainly have seen Michelle Bonilla burst through the doors of County General shouting something like "BP 100 over 80 pulse ox"; or if you’re a hardcore Trekkie you know her as a Klingon dubbed "Bu’kaH" on Star Trek Enterprise; And if you watched Dr.Quinn, Medicine Woman you remember her as Teresa Morales, the first Mexican-American School Marm – because Michelle C. Bonilla has played them all!
Bonilla is the sexy, sassy and go-getter actress who has not only overcome the stereotypical barriers of her ethnicity (Mexican heritage) but has as well gone where no other Latinas have gone before by breaking the mold of sexual orientation prejudices with her controversial Advocate Magazine interview in which she openly came out. An interview she conducted at the height of her mainstream acting career for a, then, role much closer to home. Indeed while securing roles with major studios, Bonilla didn’t shy away from independent films. She joined the cast of Liz Lachman’s playful lesbian-themed short film, "Getting to Know You", playing Claire, the lesbian dream girl (half fantasy, half real) and her twin Jenny in. A little evil, a little angel in her roles, she experienced her first same-sex on-screen kiss with "L Word" actress Elizabeth Keener.
But Bonilla is never afraid to always go the extra mile to give a charitable & activist hand to not only help promote great causes but also stand up for what she believes in.
She participated in The Dinah “L Word” Fashion Show (produced by Honey Labrador), ran a 5K marathon at the 11th Annual Komen Race for the Cure, walked along side LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at the LA Aids Walk and contributed to the “The Hollywood Bag Ladies Lupus Luncheon” event benefiting the Lupus Research Institute.
Granted Michelle C. Bonilla was saving the world on our small screens for 12 consecutive seasons in her recurring role as "Harm", the jaw-dropping, steaming hot Latina paramedic on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning drama, “ER”, but off-camera she is going a step further by giving back to the community.
The Alma-Award winning actress is taking on yet again an activist role by extending her craft to writing and producing her own short, "Slip Away" – a gripping story about love, addiction and self-discovery, that poses the question: How far does one go before they simply "slip away"?
Inspired by true events, Bonilla’s story, while focusing on the same-sex relationship of two main protagonists, Selena and Jane, tragically caught in the dramatic harrowing web of addiction, goes beyond the simple obvious "lesbian-themed" stereotypical stigma crossing over to mainstream to offer the universal message of an amazing victory over incredibly difficult odds that redefines the concept of hope and new beginnings.
Teaming up with the best of what the LGBT entertainment crop has to offer on and off camera, Bonilla is utilizing her artistic medium as a platform to not only allow actors to play roles different than what Hollywood usually typecast them in but also give back on a social/communal level to women. This is why "Slip Away" is involved with "The Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Project" (LAWTP), an institution committed to helping women in the arts.
What else makes Bonilla’s short film special and unique other than the fact that it tackles social issues that are usually not spoken about and typically dealt with in private? Well, it features a stellar ensemble cast and crew filled with women – yes lesbians but also Latinas! On the crew side: a female director & co-producer (Tina Scorzafava), female producer (Jenn Garrison) and female writer/Executive Producer (Michelle C. Bonilla). As for the cast, "Slip Away" sees Bonilla, herself, in the shoes of "Jane" ( the challenging antithesis role she didn’t play in her real life story), but also Thea Gill ("Queer As Folks"), April Grace (ABC "Lost") and newcomer Latina thespian Lauren Birriel. Of course Bonilla didn’t leave out the boys and called upon her gentlemen friends Wilson Cruz ("My So-Called Life", "He Just Not That Into You") and Hal Sparks ("Queer As Folk")
"I have achieved what I have wanted to do, personally, with this short: To Make It. It takes a significant amount of love, energy, and tenacity to pull it off. And, it is with great humility that I can say I did just that. What I hope the film accomplishes is something different all together. I want my audiences to take these characters, the situation, and be able to connect to these characters, good or bad. I want the film to stimulate conversation and maybe even some arguments (lol!). I want it to ‘move’ in some way. Eventually, I do want to be able to take this short and let it be a tool for people to learn and motivate them to make choices that better their lives. Will this happen? Who knows but I’ve done my part and I am grateful for that," says Bonilla who is one of the proud recipients of the Inaugural Gift of Life Entertainment Media Award from the National Kidney Foundation presented to the cast of ER; and the winner of The ALMA (American Latino Media Arts Award) Award, for her portrayal in PBS’s, Award Winning Foto-Novelas Series, Seeing Through Walls.