Werner Herzog’s Doc ‘A Gray State’ Acquired by First Run Features

A GRAY STATE, the A&E IndieFilms acclaimed documentary feature from Erik Nelson and executive produced by Werner Herzog, has been acquired by First Run Features.  The film, which had its world premiere at this past Tribeca Film Festival to critical praise, will receive a US theatrical release this November along with an awards push.  Following the theatrical run “A Gray State” will make its television debut on A&E.

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 as well as 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 David’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.

“We are very pleased to partner with First Run Features to bring ‘A Gray State’ to a wider audience.  The film is a powerful story that tackles some very relevant themes for our time, including the dark consequences of extreme media,” said Molly Thompson, Senior Vice President, Feature Films, A+E Networks.

“’A Gray State’ is a deep dive into some of the fault lines that are fracturing America,” said 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.”

“We’re proud and enthused to be working with Erik and A&E IndieFilms on their provocative new doc,” said Marc Mauceri, Vice President, First Run Features.  “’A Gray State’ illustrates perfectly the sort of film that we love to focus on – a carefully crafted yet thoroughly entertaining exploration of American social and political undercurrents that will jumpstart a lot of conversations.”

A GRAY STATE was executive produced by Werner Herzog and Molly Thompson (CITY OF GHOSTS, LIFE, ANIMATED) and produced by Amy Briamonte (CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS).  Submarine negotiated the deal.

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