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Writer/director Courtney Moorehead Balaker’s LITTLE PINK HOUSE, starring Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn, will open the Athena Film Festival (AFF) on Thursday, February 9th, 2017. 

Based on the true story of Susette Kelo, LITTLE PINK HOUSE 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 Academy Award® nominee Catherine Keener plays the role of Kelo.

Moorehead Balaker’s screenplay for LITTLE PINK HOUSE was a 2015 Athena List finalist. The Athena List is a slate of screenplays with female leaders or strong female protagonists that have yet to be made into films. The 2017 list and finalists will be unveiled on February 10th at the Athena Film Festival.

“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. Susette just wanted to live in peace, but when faced with a choice between fighting or having her neighborhood bulldozed, she chose to fight the powerful bullies who were threatening her blue-collar community. 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,” said Courtney Moorehead Balaker.

The Athena Film Festival showcases films about powerful and courageous women leaders in real life and the fictional world; it is a weekend dedicated to elevating female voices and stories that inspire and empower a new generation of filmmakers and individuals. The seventh annual festival, co-founded by the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and Women and Hollywood, will take place February 9 to 12, 2017, at Barnard College in New York City.


Writer / Director: Courtney Moorehead Balaker
Based on a true story, two-time Oscar® nominee Catherine Keener plays a small-town nurse Susette Kelo, who emerges as the reluctant leader of her working-class neighbors in their struggle to save their homes from political and corporate interests bent on seizing the land and handing it over to Pfizer Corporation. Susette’s battle goes all the way to the US 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.

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