(38 minutes) USA
Director: Cynthia Wade
Producers: Cynthia Wade, Vanessa Roth
Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester spent twenty-five years investigating tough cases in Ocean County, New Jersey, protecting the rights of victims and putting her life on the line. She had no reason to expect that in the last year of her life, after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, that her final battle for justice would be for the woman she loved. The documentary film Freeheld chronicles Laurel's struggle to transfer her earned pension to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree. With less than six months to live, Laurel refuses to back down when her elected officials-the Ocean County Freeholders-deny her request to leave her pension to Stacie, an automatic option for heterosexual married couples. Alternating from packed public demonstrations at the county courthouse to quiet, tender moments of Laurel and Stacie at home, Freeheld combines tension-filled political drama with personal detail, creating a nuanced study of a grassroots fight for justice.
Cynthia Wade directed and shot the five-time award-winning HBO documentary Shelter Dogs, which was broadcast in seven countries. Wade was co-producer/cinematographer for the 1998 PBS documentary Taken In: The Lives of America's Foster Children, which won a prestigious duPont Columbia Award for Excellence in Journalism. Wade has been director of photography for PBS, HBO/Cinemax, A&E, Discovery, The History Channel, MTV, AMC, Oxygen and TNT. She teaches advanced cinematography at the New School. She holds a BA cum laude from Smith College and an MA in documentary film production from Stanford University.
Vanessa Roth produced and directed the 2007 award-winning documentary The Third Monday in October, and co-produced and co-directed the award-winning 2004 PBS documentary Aging Out, which is the center of a multi-million-dollar national foster care outreach campaign sponsored by the Annie Casey Foundation. Roth produced and directed the 2002 award-winning film Close to Home, which premiered at Sundance. Her 1998 PBS film Taken In: The Lives of America's Foster Children won the coveted duPont Columbia award. Roth recently produced and directed the A&E special 9/11's Toxic Dust.
Lieutenant Films, Inc.
170 Prospect Park West, 4R
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Web site: http://www.freeheld.com