Ashton Kutcher isn't filming in Colorado after all, but these projects are getting state cash

First, the sad news (or not-so-sad news, depending on how you feel about hunky sitcom actors): Ashton Kutcher will not be filming a movie in Colorado this year. Or at least he won't be filming The Violent Separation of Flesh and Blood, a Western-type flick that was approved in May to receive $1.5 million in state film incentive money but which has now been delayed, possibly indefinitely.

That money won't go to waste, however. The Colorado Economic Development Commission recently approved five new media projects to receive incentives, including a documentary about the Holly Square Shopping Center in Park Hill, which was burned to the ground by gang members in an act of retaliation in 2008 and is referenced in this week's feature article, "Growing Concerns."

See also: Photos: Kevin Bacon rocks awesome porn 'stache during Cop Car filming in Colorado

The five projects that were approved by the EDC are:

A documentary called The Holly

Journalist and Colorado native Julian Rubinstein will produce a feature-length documentary called The Holly. Here's how it's explained in the film's application:

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The Holly is a multi-generational story of tragedy and triumph that revolves around a hallowed piece of land in Denver's historic Park Hill neighborhood known as "the Holly." This land has been the site of great moments in history including Lindberg's landing of the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927 and civil rights activism in the 1960's. The area became dominated by gang violence from the 1980's to 2008, which ignited a city-wide effort to "Bring Back the Holly." This movement was supported by some of Colorado's most influential people, from Governor John Hickenlooper (then mayor) to football star John Elway to billionaire Philip Anschutz, but one of the project's biggest champions was anti-gang activist Terrance Roberts, a former gang member who grew up at the Holly and served nearly ten years in prison for armed robbery and other crimes. In prison, Roberts vowed to turn his life around and when he got out in 2004, he opened a non-profit organization across the street from the Holly aimed at keeping kids out of gangs, earning meetings with President Obama.

Last September, during a peace rally to commemorate the opening of the new Holly community center, gun shots rang out and a 22-year-old gang leader lay bleeding on the ground. Standing over him with a pistol in his hand was Terrance Roberts, who now faces life in prison for attempted murder.

This is a film that goes beyond the headlines and tells the personal and poignant story of a struggle to save a beloved American neighborhood. Through archival footage and interviews with community members and people like Governor Hickenlooper (who has already been interviewed for the film), The Holly will tell a story of the challenges cities across the country face when trying to wrestle with issues facing at-risk youth today.

The film is expected to spend $551,902 in Colorado and was approved for a rebate of $110,218. Under a Colorado law that was revised in 2012 with the aim of attracting more movie projects to the Centennial State, filmmakers and video game creators can qualify for a 20 percent cash rebate on the money they spend here. The new law also created a program that backs up to 20 percent of a producer's bank loan.

For more on the Holly, read Westword's 2010 feature about Terrance Roberts.

Continue for more projects approved for film incentives. A video game called Star Citizen

Star Citizen will be a space trading and combat simulator game set in the fictional United Empire of Earth in the year 2942. According to its application, "it has a strong focus on player interaction, with player behavior influencing and being influenced by a dynamic economy system."

It's being developed by Cloud Imperium Games, which has contracted with Colorado-based gaming company IllFonic to complete the project. The estimated Colorado budget is $3.8 million, and it was approved for $763,953 in rebates.

A sci-fi movie called Star Raiders: The Adventures of Saber Raine

The movie will center around Saber Raine, an "interstellar adventurer...hired to guide three elite soldiers on a rescue mission to recover a prince and princess who have been abducted from their home world." To do so, Saber must battle a sinister overlord named Sinjin who's bent on wreaking havoc on the universe.

The film will star Casper Van Dian, whose credits include Starship Troopers and Monk, and is being produced by Colorado-based Don't Pose Productions. It's expected to spend $256,963 in Colorado and was approved for a rebate of $51,392.

A documentary called The Heart of the World: Colorado's National Parks

Colorado-based Great Divide Pictures hopes to produce a three-hour documentary series on Colorado's national parks to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. The filmmakers plan to film in Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes Park, Mesa Verde National Park in Cortez, the Great Sand Dunes in Alamosa and elsewhere.

The project's Colorado budget is $445,081. It was approved for $89,016 in rebates.

A television series called Max Lucado: Traveling Light

Max Lucado: Traveling Light will be a sixteen-episode faith-based TV series produced by Colorado Springs-based Contrast Audio Visual. It will star author Max Lucado and be based on his book Traveling Light, which "uses the 23rd Psalm as a guide to let go of life's unnecessary burdens." It will air on the Trinity Broadcast Network.

The show is expected to spend $185,000 in Colorado and was approved for a film incentive rebate of $37,000.

Follow me on Twitter @MelanieAsmar or e-mail me at melanie.asmar@westword.com

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