A Reel Progress Screening
Detective Lieutenant Laurel Hester spent 25 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 Academy Award-winning 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. The film is structured chronologically, following both the escalation of Laurel’s battle with the Freeholders and the decline of her health as cancer spreads to her brain.
Councilwoman Valerie Ervin, Montgomery County Council
George Farrugia, former president, Gay Officers Action League, New York chapter
Cynthia Wade, director, “Freeheld”
Winnie Stachelberg, Senior Vice President for External Affairs, Center for American Progress