EXCLUSIVE: Anti-gang war documentary from award-winning writer, director and journalist Julian Rubinstein Holly tapped Oscar-winning filmmaker and Hyperobject Industries founder Adam McKay (Don’t look up) and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Todd Schulman (Borat) as executive producers ahead of its world premiere next month at Telluride’s Mountainfilm.
Executive producers alongside McKay and Schulman are Trygve Myhren, Kayvan Khalatbari, Chad Asarch and K. Nicole Robinson Asarch, along with co-executive producer David Sirota (Don’t look up). The film is produced by filmmaker and theater company founder Donnie l. Paris (Music is my life), Sarah Dowland (The crime of the century) and Dia Sokol Savage (Looking for Kendrick Johnson).
“I was completely blown away after seeing the first cut of Holly“, McKay said. “From income inequality, race, gun violence and corruption, this movie is America’s macro in the micro.”
Based on The New York Times Editor’s Choice of Rubinstein The Holly: five bullets, a gun and the fight to save an American neighborhood (FSG, 2021), Holly is set in Denver’s historic “Holly” neighborhood and spotlights anti-gang activist Terrance Roberts. When the film begins, Roberts – whose anti-gang work has won him grants and awards – faces life in prison. In an incident that shocked the city of Denver, Roberts shot someone at his own peace rally. The shooting happened in so-called “Holly,” a section of a neighborhood that was once the center of Denver’s civil rights movement, and later became Roberts’ territory when he was a member of gang. The high-profile case becomes an unexpected window into the machinations of gang warfare.
“After eight years of work, I’m honored that maverick thinkers and filmmakers like Adam McKay and Todd Schulman understood the significance of what we filmed,” Rubinstein said. “Holly highlights the usually invisible links between gentrification, strategic law enforcement efforts and street violence. As violence and activism in vulnerable communities increases, the misconduct of informants and the questionable use by law enforcement of active gang members in undercover operations demands public scrutiny and understanding. This isn’t just happening in Denver – we just got access to such a story as it unfolded in real time.
Holly will premiere over Memorial Day weekend at Telluride’s intimate Mountainfilm Festival.