A&E INDIEFILMS’ “A GRAY STATE” ACQUIRED BY FIRST RUN FEATURES
FOR THEATRICAL RELEASE AND FALL AWARDS PUSH
ERIK NELSON’S HARROWING DOCUMENTARY ON THE MYSTERIOUS DEATHS
OF FILMMAKER DAVID CROWLEY AND HIS FAMILY,
EXECUTIVE PRODUCED BY WERNER HERZOG
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.
ABOUT A&E INDIEFILMS
A&E IndieFilms is the feature documentary production arm of A+E Studios. A&E IndieFilms is committed to developing the work of outstanding independent filmmakers and helping them reach the broadest possible audience. Films include the 2006 and 2007 Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary Feature, Murderball and Jesus Camp; Nanette Burstein’s American Teen, which received the Directing Award at Sundance Film Festival; Amir Bar-Lev’s My Kid Could Paint That; R.J. Cutler’s The September Issue; Amir Bar-Lev’s 2012 Emmy Award-winning The Tillman Story; Alex Gibney’s 2011 PGA Award and DGA Award nominee Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer ; Bart Layton’s BAFTA Award-winning The Imposter; Mike Myers’ directorial debut, SuperMensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon; winner of the Directing Award in the US Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival, Life, Animated by Roger Ross Williams; Author: The JT LeRoy Story from Jeff Feuerzig; and the 2016 Academy Award nominated film for Best Documentary Feature, Cartel Land from Matthew Heineman.
ABOUT FIRST RUN FEATURES
First Run Features was founded in 1979 by a group of filmmakers to advance the distribution of independent film. Under the leadership of the late film pioneer, Fran Spielman, First Run Features quickly gained a reputation for its controversial catalog of daring documentaries and fiction films. Today First Run remains one of the largest independent distributors in North America, releasing films in theaters nationwide; to schools, libraries and other educational institutions; on consumer disc; to television and cable broadcasters; and via a multitude of digital platforms.
The First Run legacy includes films by such notable directors as Spike Lee, Michael Apted, Peter Jackson, Alex Gibney, Joe Berlinger, Allen Miller, Rose Troche, Sven Nykvist, Jane Campion, Ross McElwee, Michael Winterbottom, DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, Barbara Kopple, David O. Russell, Lizzie Borden, Michael Verhoeven, Claude Chabrol, Jan Svankmajer, Claire Denis, Benoit Jacquot, Marleen Gorris, Radley Metzger, and many others.
Over the years, First Run Features has survived everything from FBI surveillance to the demise of so many of its competitors. First Run proudly celebrated its 30th Anniversary in August 2009 with a retrospective at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. In 2001 First Run Features was honored with a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
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