The Gray Area

Where do you live when you can’t get into subsidized housing but also can’t afford a place of your own? For this family of three, the desert — with its dust and strange beauty — became the answer. Living in a trailer home just outside of St. George, Utah, they exist in a financial state that is becoming increasingly common throughout the country. It’s a level of poverty they call “The Gray Area.”

Credits / Collaborators / Cast

Director – Kelsie Moore
Director of Photography – Kelsie Moore
Editor – Kelsie Moore
Exec Producer – Doug Fabrizio
Original music – Brian Casey Lee

Cory Stanley Stahr
Skip Stahr
Seren Stahr

The Gray Area

A critical look at income inequality in rural America through an intimate portrait of a family struggling to survive in their trailer parked in the Utah desert.

This film came about after I read a story by my coworker at KUER (NPR Utah), David Fuchs, who wrote about homeless students in St George. He stumbled across this family as he was on a hike and interviewed them for his story. When I read the piece and saw a picture of the dad, Skip, I was immediately taken and new there might be something more to discover in this family’s story. A few weeks later I was out in the St George desert as a one-lady crew in 110 degree heat, filming with the family. The benefits of being a nimble, solo act was both helpful and really hard. First and foremost, I was most interested in having a genuine connection with the family and creating a safe space for everyone to feel comfortable in. Without the family’s honesty, vulnerability and trust, there wouldn’t be a film, nor would it be worth it to me. One of my favourite parts of filmmaking is the vulnerability shared in front and behind the camera between myself and the person I’m filming and I think we really created something special here both in production and in the film itself. I live in Salt Lake City which is about a 4.5 hour drive from St George, where the film takes place and I filmed for about 6 days over two trips. Since we’ve released the film, I’ve had a lot of folks who are in very different circumstances than what is depicted in the film, who have told me that they also identify living in this ‘gray area’. So many Americans can’t afford health care or like the Stahr’s in our film- they make too much to be considered for financial aid and other benefits but don’t make enough to afford an apartment of their own. That gap or ‘gray area’ is ever widening and I hope the film expands our understanding of how nuanced poverty and this gray area, can be.


Genre: Documentary
Country: USA
Language: English
Length in minutes: 17.34
YEAR: 2019