March 26, 2018

You know an organization has reached a new level when its stories are retold on the silver screen by major Hollywood stars.

In April 2018, Little Pink House, which recounts IJ’s iconic case to save the homes of Susette Kelo and her neighbors, hits the big screen. The film stars two-time Oscar nominee Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich and Capote) as Susette.

The movie, based on the book of the same name by Jeff Benedict, tells the true story of Susette Kelo, a small-town paramedic who leaves a bad marriage and starts over in a new town. She buys a rundown cottage in New London, Connecticut, refurbishes it and paints it pink. Then she discovers powerful politicians are bent on bulldozing her blue-collar neighborhood to make way for condos and office buildings designed to benefit the new headquarters of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which is on the brink of releasing its new drug Viagra. The redevelopment effort is spearheaded by Susette’s nemesis Charlotte Wells, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn (The Firm and Basic Instinct)—an ambitious and accomplished college president who has a to-die-for Rolodex. With IJ’s help, Susette emerges reluctantly as the leader of her neighbors in an epic battle that goes all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Her fight inspires a nation and helps millions of Americans protect their homes.

The film documents how IJ’s integrated approach to litigation, communications, activism and legislative outreach elevates our battles on behalf of ordinary Americans and transforms them into issues of national importance.

As you will soon see, Little Pink House is in many ways a tribute to the courage of Susette and the other homeowners we represented, and an illustration of the power of IJ’s litigation. The film documents the human cost of eminent domain abuse and features actors playing IJ cofounder and now-Board Chairman Chip Mellor, IJ President Scott Bullock, Senior Vice President and Litigation Director Dana Berliner and yours truly. It documents how IJ’s integrated approach to litigation, communications, activism and legislative outreach elevates our battles on behalf of ordinary Americans and transforms them into issues of national importance. Taking away your home is one of the most serious things that a government can do to a person, and Little Pink House shows that in stark relief.

The film marks the feature-film directorial debut of Courtney Balaker, who is joined in the project by her producer husband, Ted Balaker.

Little Pink House the movie is yet another demonstration of how IJ pursues a long-term vision in our work and how we continually work to look beyond the horizon for cutting-edge projects that will advance individual liberty. Five years ago, when we first contacted Courtney and Ted about pursuing this project, this movie was nothing more than a dream. But with its release this month in theaters across the country, we are on the cusp of a new effort that will reinvigorate the call for eminent domain reform and greater protection for property rights. IJ and the Balakers will continue our teamwork to employ Little Pink House as a vehicle to raise public awareness about this threat to property rights and advocate in courts of law, in legislatures and in the court of public opinion to stop eminent domain for private gain.

To learn more about what you can do to bring Little Pink House to a theater near you, see the information below this article. And be sure to share your experience on social media when you see the movie.

From our founding to today, the Institute for Justice continually challenges itself to be the best—to do all we can do as well as it can be done to advance individual liberty. Working to tell the Little Pink House story with those at the Hollywood level is yet another demonstration of that commitment to institutional excellence. We hope you enjoy the film!



Visit the official Little Pink House website for more information:

View the official Little Pink House trailer:

Little Pink House is scheduled to screen in these cities, with new cities being added each week:

  • April 15: New London (CT)
    (Special pre-release screening)
  • April 20–26: New York City, Santa Monica (CA), Pasadena (CA), Atlanta (GA), San Francisco (CA), Berkeley (CA)
  • April 25: Newport Beach (CA)
  • April 27–May 3: Philadelphia (PA)
  • May 1: Anchorage (AK)
  • May 4–10: Denver (CO), San Diego (CA), Boston (MA)
  • May 11–17: Dallas (TX), Pittsburgh (PA), Phoenix (AZ)
  • May 15: Monterey (CA)
    (Schedule current as of March 2018)

For an updated list of screenings, visit:

Bring Little Pink House to a theater near you:

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