Free Minds & Free Markets

Kelo Decision Coming to Big Screen in Little Pink House

Producer Courtney Balaker talks about new movie that will tell story of eminent domain abuse.

“Part of the issue with things like this is people defining value for people that aren’t them,” says Courtney Balaker, a producer who is bringing the case of Susette Kelo’s fight against eminent domain abuse to the big screen in Little Pink House

The movie—which is produced by Balaker and her husband Ted (a former Reason TV producer)—is scheduled to begin filming in the fall. Balakler describes it as a classic David and Goliath story that focuses on Kelo, a single mother who had her Connecticut house seized by the city of New London and turned over to private developers. 

Kelo’s fight against eminent domain abuse resulted in the landmark Kelo v. City of New London decision that was handed down by the Supreme Court in 2005. Even though Kelo had lost, the decision brought attention to eminent domain abuse around the country. (Read Reason's archive on the Kelo case.)

“The silver lining is that it was such an outrageous decision that everyone was talking about it,” says Balaker. “I don’t think people would be talking about eminent domain abuse had she won.”

Nick Gillespie sat down with Balaker at Freedom Fest in Las Vegas to talk about the film’s production and what Balaker hopes to achieve by telling Suzette Kelo’s story to a broader audience. 

About 8:30 minutes. 

Produced by Meredith Bragg. Edited by Alexis Garcia. Camera by Bragg, Paul Detrick, and Zach Weissmueller. Music by Jingle Punks.

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  • Inigo "Chip" DuBois||

    Will watch this.

    An Australian film called "The Castle" came out in 1997 about eminent domain abuse. It was a fictional comedy about a guy who lives in a tract house next to an airport who is fighting the airport's eminent domain seizure. It strongly took the side of the individual fighting back, as I recall.

  • TimothyZ||

    You know what might be more effective is a film that ostensibly takes the side of the large organization against the individuals who impede progress towards a better world, over which presides benevolent masters.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The communist, prohibition and socialist parties didn't win, but they changed the Constitution to saddle us with organized crime and an income tax straight out of the Manifesto of 1848. The libertarian party doesn't win in the sense of getting its hand in the till, but we do repeal idiotic laws and reduce taxes through the same ballot other small parties used to make America unfree. Even the Senile Court is nowadays instructed by its appointment and confirmation parties to sit up and take notice that in a partial democracy losing is winning if it gets rid of bad laws.

  • fleshy wavefunction||

    Is this part of the 'inspiration' for Mellencamp's "Little Pink Houses"???

  • Fizban||

    It doesn't seem to me to be much of a David and Goliath story, seeing how David got stomped on by Goliath this time.

  • Ambler||

    FYI: Suzette Kelo was able to take her case all the way to the Supreme Court because she was represented, pro bono, by the libertarian Institute for Justice. IJ does great legal work in the areas of economic liberty, property rights, school choice and free speech, with a long string of victories to their credit. They "lost" Kelo, but the backlash strengthened property rights in at least 43 states. I'm baffled and disappointed that nowhere in this interview on the Reason website are they even mentioned.

  • Ambler||

    Just occured to me: I hope the Institute for Justice is not going to be left out of the film.

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