Acclaimed journalist, author, documentary filmmaker, and Denver native, Julian Rubinstein, returns home to debut his film, THE HOLLY, at the 45th Denver Film Festival on Sunday, Nov. 6 and Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.

The film was made during his seven years of reporting on his award-winning nonfiction book The Holly: Five Bullets, One Gun and the Struggle to Save an American Neighborhood, named a New York Times Editors’ Choice and winner of both the 2022 Colorado Book Award and the High Plains Book Award. 

THE HOLLY is Rubinstein’s debut  documentary feature and won the Audience Choice award at Telluride MOUNTAINFILM 2022. This past weekend, the film won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Santa Fe International Film Festival. 

THE HOLLY reveals decades of darkness swirling below the surface of the eponymous landmark Holly Square, formerly known as one of Denver’s most prominent African American community hubs and the site of a pivotal moment in Denver’s civil rights movement, but later an open-air drug market, and the first headquarters of Denver’s Blood gang. As the shooting at the heart of the film happens, the neighborhood has begun a rapid gentrification. 

THE HOLLY features the story of Terrance Roberts, a third-generation resident of the neighborhood and former gang member incarcerated for ten years.  After his release from prison, he renounced his gang affiliation and began campaigning against gang violence. By 2013, he was lauded as a community activist and gang-unity ambassador working to curb gun violence in the city’s northeast Park Hill Neighborhood, as well as the face behind the revitalization of Holly Square. But, on the night of September 20th, 2013, at a peace rally organized by Roberts himself, five gunshots rang out. He allegedly pulled the trigger.

To purchase tickets to the 45th Denver Film Festival and to view the film, The Holly log on to the Denver Film Festival website.