In 2010 David Crowley, an Iraq veteran, aspiring filmmaker and charismatic up-and-coming voice in fringe politics, began production on his film “Gray State.” Set in a dystopian near-future where civil liberties are trampled by an unrestrained federal government, the film’s crowd funded trailer was enthusiastically received by the burgeoning online community of libertarians, Tea Party activists as well as members of the nascent alt-right. In January of 2015, Crowley was found dead with his family in their suburban Minnesota home. Their shocking deaths quickly become a cause célèbre for conspiracy theorists who speculate that Crowley was assassinated by a shadowy government concerned about a film and filmmaker that was getting too close to the truth about their aims. Directed by “Grizzly Man” producer Erik Nelson and Executive Produced by Werner Herzog, “A Gray State” combs through Crowley’s archive of 13,000 photographs, hundreds of hours of home video, and exhaustive behind-the-scenes footage of David’s work in progress to reveal what happens when a paranoid view of the government turns inward — blurring the lines of what is real and what people want to believe. Director Erik Nelson joins us to talk about his verite-style film and the truth behind the Crowley family’s tragic deaths.
Opening Los Angeles November 24th at the Laemmle’s Music Hall 3
“A highly-topical and resonant trip down the alt-right rabbit hole…A GRAY STATE offers a powerful rebuke to the post-truth groups that subsumed both Crowley’s life and his death” – Anthony Kaufman, SCREEN DAILY
“Part suspenseful murder-mystery and part real-life political thriller, this true-crime deep-dive feels poised to be a…breakout hit ” – Jason Newman, ROLLING STONE
“The somewhat rare documentary that’s actually as illuminating as good print reporting on the same case.” – Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice
“A story similar to “The Shining” but much scarier because it is true.” – Louis Proyect, COUNTERPUNCH
“[A] real-life tale that’s as unsettling as it is precisely of-the-moment.” – Godfrey Cheshire, ROGER EBERT