NEW LONDON – It was a momentous case.
Kelo vs. The City of New London. The topic involved the use of Eminent Domain where the city wanted the transfer of land from one private owner to another in order to further economic development.
In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a 5-4 decision in favor of the city of New London resulting in the leveling of Susette Kelo’s house.
“I’d never seen someone in a situation like that in my own personal life,” says director Courtney Moorehead Balaker. Balaker first learned of this case while reading “Little Pink House”, a book by author Jeff Benedict.
Benedict was born and raised in New London and was around during the entire legal battle. He felt he needed to do something. So, he walked up to Kelo’s house and knocked on her door.
“I had this big spiel in my mind of what I was going to say. And she opened the door and I said, ‘Hi I’m Jeff Benedict and I’m a writer.’ And I got that far. And she said, ‘I know who you are.’ And then I thought this could be good or this could be bad,” says Benedict.
Two years later “Little Pink House” was released and a copy eventually fell into the hands of Balaker who made it into a feature length film.
“I really hope that this could at least start a conversation about whether or not this type of eminent domain abuse is something that should be allowed,” says Balaker.
Sunday night, New London’s Garde Arts Center was the venue for the world premiere of the film. A sold out crowd of 1,400 people packed the theater for the movie which will be in 40 cities by April 20th.
It was a vision Benedict saw coming over a decade ago.
“I saw a movie before I saw a book,” says Benedict. “And so to now be here a decade later after the book was written and actually see it on a big screen it’s great. It’s great for the community.”