In 2010 David Crowley, an Iraq veteran, aspiring filmmaker and charismatic up-and-coming voice in fringe politics, began production on his film A 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 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 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.