Julian Rubinstein is the author of The Holly: Five Bullets, One Gun, and the Struggle to Save an American Neighborhood, a book that has earned widespread acclaim since its release. Here’s the synopsis from the website.
In The Holly, the award-winning journalist Julian Rubinstein, who grew up in Denver, reconstructs the events leading up to the fateful confrontation that left a local gang member paralyzed and Terrance Roberts on trial, facing a life in prison. Much more than the story of a shooting, The Holly is a multigenerational crime story that explores the porous boundaries between a city’s elites and its most disadvantaged citizens, as well as the fraught interactions of police, confidential informants, activists, gang members, and ex-gang members trying—or not—to put their pasts behind them. It shows how well-intentioned urban renewal may hasten gentrification, and what happens when overzealous policing collides with gang members who conceive of themselves as defenders, however imperfect, of a neighborhood.
In the process of reporting that book, Julian found himself in the middle of things and turned the book into a documentary. A featured presentation at Denver Film Festival 45, The Holly finds Rubinstein “caught up in a world of gang members, activists, informants, cops, and developers uneasily coexisting in a rapidly gentrifying community. Many of them are also covertly working together on a federally funded law enforcement operation.” It’s thoroughly fascinating and I cannot wait to see it. Julian was good enough to sit down with me and discuss many of these issues in detail and what results is an insightful, stimulating chat.
Here is where you can learn more about the documentary.
Here is where you can learn more about the book.