The tiny town of Leith, North Dakota is remote and shabbily attractive in a bleak, muddy sort of way. In 2012, Aryan supremacist Craig Cobb decided this isolated hamlet would be the perfect setting to realise his vision of an all-white community (to be renamed Cobbtown), and set about purchasing cheap land in the area. This documentary tracks the reactions of local people to Cobb’s arrival, and how both sides took radical action to counter what they perceived as a threat.
What ‘Welcome to Leith’ does very well is dig deep and expose Cobb – and by extension the entire American neo-Nazi movement – as weak, confused and desperate, using a dying ideology as a way to feel less alone in the world. Directors Michael Beach Nichols and Christopher K Walker fail to apply the same rigour to the local townsfolk, whose personalities never really come into focus, while the lack of incident leaves them straining to fill out the feature-length running time. But as a short sketch of a fading culture, this is fascinating.