A Gray State
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,” which was 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, but the work was never finished: In January 2015, Crowley was found dead with his family in their suburban Minnesota home. Their shocking deaths quickly became a cause célèbre for conspiracy theorists who speculated that Crowley was assassinated by a shadowy government concerned about a filmmaker who 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 vast archive of 13,000 photographs, hundreds of hours of home video, and behind-the-scenes footage of David’s work-in-progress to reveal what happens when a paranoid view of the government turns inward and the lines begin to blur between what is real and what people want to believe.