The Holly

Bertha Journalism



Sarah Dowland


Julian Rubinstein


Production support


THE HOLLY follows an attempted murder case in a historic Denver, Colorado community that provides an unexpected window into a neighborhood where much of the city’s violent crime takes place, nearly all of it gang-related. The defendant, 37-year-old Terrance Roberts, is a former Blood from “the Holly” who turned his life around and became a successful anti-gang activist. But during a peace rally in September 2013, Roberts shot a young gang member, leaving him paralyzed. Roberts, who faces life in prison, admits shooting Hasan Jones—who reminds him of his younger self—but says it was in self-defense. As Roberts awaits trial, a gang war explodes in the Holly, prompting emergency law enforcement funding and triggering a series of events that illuminate both the invisible forces at work in the community, and what happened on the day of the shooting. Roberts’s trial is the film’s climax.