In June of 2014, I published a piece about the making of a documentary called,Welcome To Leith. The film is about an actual white supremacist attack on the small town of Leith, North Dakota. The film’s directors, Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K. Walker, recently contacted me and told me that the Daily Koscommunity, Liberals Unite (where the article was cross-posted) and the many who embraced and shared the article throughout social media, helped raise the Kickstarterfunds needed to complete this film. Many thanks to all who contributed in bringing this film to light. The documentary will premiere in New York City, Wednesday, September 9, 2015, at the IFC/Independent Film Center. Sundance featured the film in 2015. Here are the directors discussing Welcome To Leith in a 2 1/2-minute Sundance YouTube video:
One of the first media outlets to cover this story was BBC in January 2014. After reading about it, and watching the trailer, I felt sick. It’s hard to believe this kind of racism still exists, and yet encouraging to see how some courageous citizens took a stand.
Leith, North Dakota is a registered ghost town of 16-24 people. Its inhabitants are mostly farmers or ranchers, with land passed down generation to generation. The town has an apocalyptic beauty set against a prairie backdrop of wide-open sky and fields of wheat.
In May of 2012, an outsider named Craig Cobb moved in and started buying up property. He accumulated twelve plots of land, some empty, some with houses in various states of disrepair. People figured he’d moved in to be close to the Bakken oil fields some 70 miles north. Turns out he was a notorious white separatist who was plotting a takeover of the city government. Shortly after his plans were unveiled, a family of fellow white separatists moved in to start fixing up his properties.
‘Welcome to Leith’ is a feature film offering a glimpse into a town struggling for sovereignty against one man’s extremist vision. Filmed in the days leading up to Cobb’s arrest for terrorizing the townspeople on an armed patrol, Welcome to Leith is an eerie document of American DIY ideals played out in one of the most under populated states in the nation.
Here is the latest movie trailer:
Craig Cobb, the white supremacist leader in this story contacted me via Daily Kos this past Spring after discovering my article. He asked me to publish a letter/comment emphasizing that he is 100% white, as his race was challenged on the Trisha Goddard show in England. They pretty much made a fool of Cobb publicizing that his DNA reveals he is 14% Black. Choosing not to give him free press he desperately craves, I ignored him and his request for months. After the Charleston Chuch Massacre, I opted to publish his letter hoping it would give some people more insight into the sick mind of a sociopathic. Cobb’s pseudo charm is quite repulsive.
The story came my way via Unity North Dakota – the citizens who confronted the white supremacists when they attempted to take over Leith. One of the founders of Unity North Dakota said:
“These men and their supporters threatened our lives and those of our families. We need to confront hatred head on. We kicked them out of our state, but they’ll resurface elsewhere.”
Here are just a few reviews for Welcome To Leith:
Sundance: “The unsettling underpinning of Welcome to Leith is how we wrestle with our democratic principles when they’re pushed to the limit.” —JN
Variety: “Engrossing… a gripping you-are-there portrait of a community under siege.”
Rotten Tomatos: Recommended 100% by critics
Many look forward to seeing this documentary make its way around the country to expose the likes of Craig Cobb and his cronies. Special thanks to Daily Kos and all who share ‘not made for mainstream media’ pieces like this on your social networks. Good on us. Good on you. Good for the people.You can visit ‘Welcome To Leith’ on Facebook. Special thanks to Facebook pages, Unity North Dakota, Daily Kos, Red State Dems., and Liberals Unite.