Leith, North Dakota, is a ghost town with 24 residents. Its inhabitants are mostly farmers or ranchers, working land passed down from generation to generation. In 2012, an outsider named Craig Cobb moved in and started buying up property. He accumulated twelve plots of land, some empty, some with houses in various states of disrepair. People assumed he’d moved in to be close to the Bakken oil fields some 70 miles north. It turns out he is also a notorious white supremacist who was plotting a takeover of the city government in Leith. Shortly after his plans were unveiled by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a family of fellow white supremacists moved in to join his efforts. As Cobb’s behavior became more threatening, tensions soared, and the residents desperately looked for ways to expel their unwanted neighbor. With incredible access to both long time residents of Leith and white supremacists, the film examines a small community in the plains struggling for sovereignty against an extremist vision. That it takes place in the shadow of the biggest oil boom in North Dakota’s history makes Welcome to Leith a complex document exploring unforeseen causes and effects. Co-directors Michael Beach Nichols & Christopher K. Walker join us for a conversation their remarkably even handed film on how a tight-knit community deals with their new neighbors and just how much discord and out-right hatred people are willing to accept.
Welcome to Leith opens in Los Angeles at Laemmle’s Music Hall.
“A gripping you-are-there portrait of a community under siege… as engrossing as a fictional thriller.” - Dennis Harvey, Variety
“Fascinating, unnerving. The interviews are rich and disturbing.” – Diana Clarke, The Village Voice
“Must See. Filled with gripping showdowns and sinister agendas, the movie builds its unsettling power by depicting the struggle from both perspectives. While the delineation between good and evil holds strong, ‘Welcome to Leith’ is also creepily even-handed.” – Zack Sharf, Indiewire
“Presents a chilling ‘it could happen here’ scenario…” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
“[This] real horror story… brings new life to old news stories.” – Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“For its eerie sense of timeliness and excellent storytelling, ‘Welcome to Leith’ is one of the must-watch documentaries of 2015.” Paste Magazine