Presented by Screenworks and Virgo Productions


A feature documentary by Sam Lara and Cathy Henkel

Please join us for a special Ballina screening of Laura’s Choice, following by a conversation with the filmmakers moderated by Catherine Marciniak.

Laura was a Ballina resident, and it is with great joy that we are able to share her story with her community.

Laura Henkel is eccentric, outspoken, feisty and 90 years old. She has decided she wants to end her life on her own terms. She does not have a terminal illness; she just wants to be in control of the process, and be allowed to go with dignity. And she asks her daughter Cathy and granddaughter Sam, both filmmakers, to make a film about it.

Laura’s Choice explores complex questions as three generations of women travel into uncharted territory and navigate a radical, dignified and highly controversial approach to dying.

This screening is made possible with the wonderful support of Screenworks, Ballina Fair Cinemas and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Sun, February 7, 2021

4:30 PM – 6:30 PM AEDT

Ballina Fair Cinemas | BUY TICKETS




Dr. Cathy Henkel
Director, WA Screen Academy
Edith Cowan University
Founding Director, Virgo Productions

Cathy is the founding director of Virgo Productions and has worked as a documentary producer/director/ writer for the past 30 years. Virgo Productions is an award-winning, boutique screen industries company focused on inspiring, positive, global stories with cross-platform delivery and engaging audiences world-wide.

Cathy’s previous credits include The Burning Season (ABC, BBC, CBC, PBS, National Geographic, IF Award for Best Documentary, nominated for an Emmy), I told you I was ill: Spike Milligan (ABC, BBC1, RTE), Walking Through a Minefield (SBS), Losing Layla (ABC, HBO) and The Man who Stole my Mother’s Face (Tribeca Film Festival Best Feature Documentary 2004, IF Award and broadcast in 26 countries).

Cathy was awarded SPA Documentary Producer of the Year in 2009, and won an ACS Award for Show me the Magic about acclaimed cinematographer Don McAlpine. Her feature documentary Rise of the Eco-Warriors was re-versioned as a 13 x 26min TV series in conjunction with Singapore-based Silver Media Group.

Cathy’s latest film, Laura’s Choice, co-directed with her daughter Sam Lara, premiered at Revelation Film Festival in December 2020 and won the inaugural Innovation in Feature Documentary Award at the Festival.

Cathy has a PhD from Queensland University of Technology and is the Director of the WA Screen Academy at Edith Cowan University. She was the WA Chapter Head for the Australian Director’s Guild from 2015 – 2019 and is a board member of the Australian International Documentary Conference.


Sam Lara
Director, Producer

Sam Lara has been directing short films, music videos and factual content for the past 10 years. Her directing work has been nominated at Sydney Film Festival, St Kilda Film Festival, Flickerfest International Film Festival, Cambridge Film Festival, Byron Bay Film Festival and Melbourne International Film Festival, where she was selected to participate in MIFF’s 2019 Accelerator Lab. She holds a Bachelor of Film and Television from Bond University and currently serves as the West Australian chapter head of the Australian Director’s Guild. Her feature documentary Laura’s Choice premiered at Revelation Film Festival in 2020 and will air on the ABC as a two part series in 2021.

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