Erik Nelson’s A Gray State, exec produced by Werner Herzog and backed by A&E Indie Films, has been picked up for American theatrical release by First Run Features.
The film, which had its world premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, tells the story of David Crowley, an Iraq War veteran and aspiring filmmaker. In 2010, he was working on Gray State, a film about a chaotic near-future in which civil liberties are eliminated by an oppressive federal government. After releasing a crowdfunded trailer, the film gained attention among libertarian and Tea Party activists, as well as members of the growing alt-right movement.
When Crowley and his family were found dead in their Minnesota home in 2015, conspiracy theories emerged, claiming Crowley was assassinated by a shadowy government concerned over what he would reveal through his film. Erik Nelson’s documentary utilizes some 13,000 photographs from Crowley’s personal archives as well as footage found in hundreds of hours of home video, and behind-the-scenes footage from the shooting for Gray State, as well as interviews with Crowley’s family and friends.
First Run will release the film theatrically in the U.S. in November, with an awards push. After the theatrical run, the film will make its television debut on A&E.
“We are very pleased to partner with First Run Features to bring A Gray State to a wider audience,” said Molly Thompson, senior vice president of feature films for A+E Networks, in a statement. “The film is a powerful story that tackles some very relevant themes for our time, including the dark consequences of extreme media.”
“A Gray State is a deep dive into some of the fault lines that are fracturing America,” added Erik Nelson. “It’s a dark ride through the tunnel of conspiracy culture, the trauma experienced by many veterans, celebrity worship, gun obsession, and the unforeseen consequences of an addiction to social media. But it is a dark ride that tries to point a way to the light.”
Thompson and Herzog are executive producers for the film, while Amy Briamonte serves as producer.