Laura Henkel is eccentric, outspoken, feisty and 90 years old. She wants to end her life on her own terms.
Laura asks her daughter Cathy and granddaughter Sam, both filmmakers, to document her journey.
Laura's Choice
A joyous end-of-life story.
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Laura’s Choice listed in The Guardian’s 10 Best Australian TV Shows of 2021

“Premiering at Revelation film festival in 2020 and arriving on ABC iView in March, this two-part series captures the journey towards death for the lovable and articulate 90-year-old Laura Henkel, who decided to end her life on her own terms and asked her daughter and granddaughter – Cathy Henkel and Sam Lara

Meet the characters

Laura Henkel

90-year-old Laura was eccentric, outspoken, feisty and fiercely determined. She was well-read, worked as a theatre actress in her day, and was not afraid to ruffle feathers. She also decided she wanted to die on her own terms, and she wanted to help her daughter and granddaughter come to understand the many reasons why. And she wanted to start a global conversation about end-of-life choices. 

Cathy Henkel

Cathy is in her 60’s and is Laura’s only daughter. She’s also a multi-award winning documentary filmmaker. Once she realises she isn’t going to be able to change her mother’s mind about her death or the film she wants them to make about it, she prepares herself to confront this challenge as the practical, efficient, level-headed mother and daughter she thinks her family needs her to be. But there’s no guidebook on how to deal with the emotional impact of helping a parent plan their death.

Sam Lara

Sam is in her mid-20’s and in the midst of working out what she believes about life and death. She’s followed her mother’s footsteps in becoming a filmmaker, she is ruled by her heart, and she feels things deeply. She’s naturally warm, easily excited, and has a naive innocence and belief that life is a rollercoaster which is meant to be enjoyed at all times. Being forced to confront her own mortality, accept the shade as well as the light, and become acquainted with death is not an easy journey.

Laura's Kitchen Table

A safe, respectful online community to discuss end-of-life issues

There is a seat for you at Laura’s Kitchen Table. This space is designed for people who are currently exploring their end-of-life choices, as well as their families, friends and community who are seeking to understand these choices and plan accordingly.

Inside you will find resources, discussion boards, behind-the-scenes videos and more. 

The filmmakers

“Making this film has been a powerful reminder of what’s important to us – our relationships. Laura’s Choice is an unflinching, personal deep-dive into a conversation that is very controversial, and very much in the zeitgeist. We hope we have honoured Laura’s dying wish that this film contribute to a global conversation about an issue that affects us all.” 

Laura’s Choice directors: Sam Lara and Cathy Henkel 

The Exhibition

Conversations around the Kitchen Table. Presented by Sam Lara and Cathy Henkel.

Centred around a kitchen table, this free exhibition invites you to sit and discuss issues around death and dying with other attendees. Watch interactive video displays, read words from Laura, view art from the film, and breathe deeply in quiet corners for reflection.

Exhibition photography by Kaifu Deng.

Responses to the film