Film phase: Completed
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, her final battle for justice would be for the woman she loved.
ABOUT THE DIRECTOR
Cynthia Wade is currently a producer on the fictionalized version of Freeheld, starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page. In 2013, Cynthia received her second Oscar® nomination for her documentary Mondays at Racine. Her other directing credits include the award-winning films Shelter Dogs, Living the Legacy, Growing Hope Against Hunger, Grist for the Mill, the Clio Award-winner Selfie, and the 17-time award winner Born Sweet. Cynthia holds a BA from Smith College and an MA in Documentary Film from Stanford University.
Freeheld won the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short Subject. It was shown in over 100 film festivals, had national television broadcasts in five countries, and screened in a dozen of America’s large corporations as a diversity training tool. The film’s ten-city theatrical release included 35 individual theatrical screenings spanning nine states, and provided a natural outreach platform for panels, press, and public dialogue concerning LGBT equality around the 2008 national election (when gay and lesbian rights were pending on many state ballots). When the Oscar® was announced, 40 million viewers worldwide learned of Laurel Hester and her struggle for equality, and he film’s website, freeheld.com, was flooded with hits from 78 countries; Freeheld was the number one Googled word on Oscar® night in 2008. The film is now in production as a major motion picture starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page.