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Courtney Moorehead Balaker’s “Little Pink House” to Open Athena Film Festival

18 January 2017 10:02 AM, PST | Women and Hollywood | See recent Women and Hollywood news »

Catherine Keener in “Maladies”: Tribeca Film Festival

The Athena Film Festival announced today that “Little Pink House,” written and directed by Courtney Moorehead Balaker, will screen on Thursday, February 9 as the fest’s Opening Night film.

Based on the true story of Susette Kelo, “Little Pink Houses” tells the story of a nurse who emerges as a reluctant leader of her working-class neighbors in their struggle to save their homes from political and corporate interests. Two-time Oscar nominee Catherine Keener (“Enough Said”) plays the title role. Jeanne Tripplehorn (“Criminal Minds”) co-stars.

Telling Kelo’s story has been a long time coming for Moorehead Balaker — and for the Athena Film Festival. The “Little Pink House” script was a finalist on the 2015 Athena List, a selection of screenplays with female leads or protagonists that have yet to be made into films.

“Bringing Susette’s story to the screen has been a passion of mine for years and I’m very honored by the Athena Film Festival’s invitation to open the festival,” said Moorehead Balaker in a statement. “Susette is a model of courage and defiance, and Catherine Keener’s outstanding performance perfectly embodies Susette’s spirit and drive. I’m grateful to the Athena Film Festival for showcasing her story and for giving ‘Little Pink House’ the opportunity to come full circle from Athena List Finalist to opening night film.”

Women and Hollywood’s Founder and Publisher, Melissa Silverstein, co-founded the Athena Film Festival and serves as its artistic director. She commented, “‘Little Pink House’ highlights an incredible message of woman’s courage against all odds and standing up for what is right. This is the first film from the Athena List program to be made and the fact that it will open the festival is an enormous thrill for all of us,” she emphasized.

After the Opening Night screening of “Little Pink House,” Moorehead Balaker and the real-life Susette Kelo will participate in an audience Q&A.

Little Pink House’s” official synopsis reads, “Susette’s battle goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and the controversial 5–4 decision in ‘Kelo vs. City of New London’ gave government officials the power to bulldoze a neighborhood for the benefit of a multibillion-dollar corporation. The decision outraged Americans across the political spectrum, and that passion fueled reforms that helped curb eminent domain abuse.”

The Athena Film Festival is four-day event honoring “courageous and audacious women in real life and the fictional world,” and includes features, documentaries, and shorts. The festival will run from February 9–12 at Barnard College in New York City.

Visit the festival’s website to purchase festival tickets and passes, or to find our more information.

Courtney Moorehead Balaker’s “Little Pink House” to Open Athena Film Festival was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. »

- Rachel Montpelier

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