Will Little Pink House Become the Erin Brockovich of the Eminent-Domain Abuse Movement?


Former Reason TV producer Ted Balaker and his wife Courtney Balaker are producing a movie based on the travails of Suzette Kelo, whose fight against eminent domain abuse resulted in the landmark case Kelo v. City of New London. The film, titled Little Pink House, is slated for a 2015 release. 

Kelo lost her battle against the city seizing property and turning it over to private developers but the court case actually jumpstarted pushback against eminent-domain abuse around the country. In USA Today, the Balakers talk about what they hope to accomplish with their movie about Kelo:

The powerful bullying the powerless — that's the opposite of inclusion. And how about diversity? Eminent domain abuse typically strikes poor and minority communities. Not at all compassionate, but it encapsulates the Barclays Center's dodgy backstory, in which officials flattened a neighborhood that was more diverse than powerful to erect a massive complex that has enriched developers and the NBA franchise that calls the facility home.

How to tame the ugly spirit of eminent domain abuse and cronyism? We suggest turning to a force mightier than politics: culture. We are producing a feature film based on Kelo's historic saga, and we hope to achieve some of the impact garnered by Erin Brockovich, another underdog film about a real-life working-class woman.

Erin Brockovich showed how culture can elevate otherwise obscure issues to drive reform. Cultural depictions played an important role in the recent shift in public support for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization, and Kelo's courageous struggle could likewise help viewers understand the human cost of eminent domain abuse.

Read the whole column.

The production is being made in conjunction with the Institute for Justice, the libertarian public-interest law firm that represented Kelo.

For more on the case and the movie, check out the Facebook page for Little Pink House.

In 2000, Walter Olson picked apart all the errors and misrepresentations in the movie Erin Brockovich. Having worked with the Balakers, I'm confident Little Pink House will actually be an honest retelling of the tale.