What is a gray state? According to Minnesota filmmaker David Crowley, it’s the living environment between a police state and a dictatorship. That’s why he spent years making the film “A Gray State,” which became a Werner Herzog-produced documentary after the story took a much different path than originally anticipated.
Crowley, an Iraq veteran, began working on “A Gray State” in 2010. The fictional film takes place in a near-future dystopia where the civil rights of Americans are hostage to the brutalities of the federal government. When the crowd-funded trailer was released, it was well-received by the rising online community of libertarians, Tea Party activities, and conspiracists.
But in January of 2015, Crowley, his wife, and child were found shot to death in their Minnesota home. The unexplained, violent tragedy became subject to widespread conspiracy allegations that thought it could have been an assassination by someone inside the government. The theories were based on the belief that Crowley’s film, “A Gray State,” was too close to the truth about the government’s plans.
An official selection of the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, “A Gray State” compiles selections of Crowley’s archive of 13,000 videos, photos, and behind-the-scenes footage with a unique perspective on “what happens when a paranoid view of the government turns inward — blurring the lines of what is real and what people want to believe.”
The A&E IndieFilms and First Run Features film is directed by Erik Nelson and executive produced by Werner Herzog. It will open in New York on November 3 and in Los Angeles November 24. Watch the trailer below.