Hot Docs 2015: Welcome to Leith – Michael Beach Nichols & Chrisopher K. Walker


It will be interesting if this review doesn’t become a tirade, as I’ve never understood racism, and think that those who go around spouting it, are all manner of moronic. So, I settled in to be as objective and open-minded as I could, which proved to be not very. The first time Craig Cobb, and the other hate groups started with their stupidity, I could not even pretend to be objective.

Welcome to Leith takes us to a small town in North Dakota, population… 24. A boom town in the early 1900s, it has since died off, and left abandoned for the most part, except for the few folk who call it home.

They get by as well as they can, and are rather happy when a new fellow in town is buying property and planning on taking up residence. This will inject some much-needed money into the town’s non-existent economy.

When the town learns that the stranger in town is in fact the evil white supremacist Craig Cobb, things change in the town awfully quick. Especially when Cobb starts reaching out to other supremacists and hate groups, telling them to move into the town, buy some of the property he’s scooped up, and then they can seize control of the town legally and politically.

He begins a campaign of terror, intimidation and irritation against his neighbors, releasing their names, addresses and phone numbers to hate sites, and pushing the legal boundaries as he tries to provoke a response. It culminates with his walking through the town, openly carrying weapons.

The filmmakers try to be objective, spending time with members of the community as well as the unwanted interlopers, but just hearing these hate-mongers open their mouths once is enough to remove any objectivity.

The town want them gone, but know they have to operate inside the law, they band together and fight for their homes.

It amazes me that in this day and age creatures like Cobb and his ilk can still exist. It also bothers me to no end, because I had hoped that at some point we could leave this stupidity behind. These people represent a clear and present danger to all of society, and are a terrible example of ours species.

This fascinating, and angering doc plays at the festival one more time… Thursday, 30 April, at 1:30 at the Lightbox.

What docs have you seen at the festival this year?


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