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A Gray State
A film by Erik Nelson

93 minutes, color, 2017

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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 and members of the nascent alt-right. In January 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.

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 Crowley'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.

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"Riveting. A Gray State provides timely political commentary along with a fascinating true-life crime tale." - The Hollywood Reporter

"Everyone loves a conspiracy - which is one of the reasons this tantalizing and fascinating real-life story makes for compelling viewing. But it's also supremely timely...a highly topical and resonant trip...exposing a Trumpian world where facts are rejected in favor of paranoia and conjecture." - Screen Daily

"A compelling, highly dramatic piece of documentary filmmaking." - The Playlist

"Donald Trump's embrace of Alex Jones and his InfoWars outlet has gone a long way toward legitimizing the alt-right fringe, a space rife with conspiracy theories about the corruptness of the national media and the dictatorial schemes of the federal government. Together, Jones and Trump (and Trump's right-hand buddy, Steve Bannon) have helped stoke the flames of anti-establishment 'fake news' extremism-and as Erik Nelson's A Gray State makes clear, that sort of fanaticism can lead to tragic consequences for all involved." - The Daily Beast


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