Gravitas secures rights to “The Holly” through Terrance Roberts

Gravitas Ventures has secured the North American rights to Julian Rubinstein’s The Holly, a documentary about anti-gang activist Terrance Roberts’ high-profile shooting. The film, which debuted at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival in May, is executive produced by Adam McKay and Todd Schulman’s Hyperobject Industries. Gravitas will release the documentary in three theaters and on-demand on February 3rd.

The documentary, filmed over a period of eight years in Denver’s historic Holly neighborhood, follows activist, former gang member and current Denver mayoral candidate Terrance Roberts. As the documentary begins, Roberts — whose anti-gang efforts have received federal funding — is facing a life sentence for shooting dead someone at his own peace rally. The shooting happened in the Holly neighborhood, which was once the center of Denver’s civil rights movement. The neighborhood eventually became the home of Denver’s first street gang, the Bloods, and a target for covert police operations. In the documentary, Roberts’ shooting case offers a glimpse into the political machinations of urban development and the city’s gang activities.

“Gravitas is proud to bring ‘The Holly’ to theaters and homes next February,” said Bill Guentzler, senior director of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures. “Although the film is set in Denver, we believe the story will resonate nationwide, and we know it will encourage dialogue to bring about social change.”

In addition to audience awards at the Mountain Film Festival and the Denver Film Festival earlier this year, The Holly also won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Santa Fe Intl. Film Festival in October.

Rubinstein made the documentary while working on his 2021 book, The Holly: Five Bullets, One Gun and the Struggle to Save an American Neighborhood.

“I started filming because covering the book felt like I was in the middle of a crime,” says Rubinstein, who grew up in Denver and moved back to the city to document Robert’s story. “This is a film about how power works in America and how the beneficiaries of gentrification also benefit from street violence.”

Executive producer Damon Davis (“Whose Streets”) says the document “highlights the risks of being a community activist and the backlash you can receive from multiple quarters.”

McKay and Schulman joined the project in April, just before the document debuted. Most recently, the Hyperobject Industries exec produced the Hulu documentary God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty, about Jerry Falwell Jr.

Rubinstein produced The Holly with Dia Sokol Savage, Donnie L. Betts and Sarah Dowland. McKay, Schulman and Davis served as executive producers on the document along with Lana Garland’s cinematographer Tony Hardmon. Gravitas secures rights to “The Holly” through Terrance Roberts

Charles Jones

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