Michael Bird, executive producer for Birdhaus Productions, is making strides to tell the story of Denver’s historic Five Points neighborhood through his documentary “Jazz and Five Points.”
Bird shared a few clips from the documentary, which is still in its early stages, with CU students, faculty and staff on Thursday night. His casual presentation, held in the Dennis Small Cultural Center, focused on his love for stories and his desire to reclaim Five Points and bring back a sense of community to the Denver area.
Bird started the project as a way to give long-time residents a chance to tell their own stories surrounding their neighborhood. As a jazz musician and history enthusiast, he said he focused his interviews around local jazz legends including jazz master, Charles Burrell.
“This is not my story to tell,” Bird said. “When I first started the documentary I thought it would be a jazz documentary, but after hearing all of these interviews I knew the focus shifted toward community and history.”
Many of the interviewees shared a common love for their neighborhood, while also fearing that the community feel is hard to replace in this generation.
“If we don’t look back… we won’t be able to move forward in a positive way,” one woman said (name undisclosed).
After only a short preview of the documentary, the attendees showed great interest in Bird’s mission, as various hands flew up to comment on his work in progress.
“[It] helps me appreciate the history of the city…[and] makes me feel more connected to it,” said Lauren Rhodes, a senior political science major and Denver native.
Samuel Giles, a non-degree seeking student who is new to Colorado, said the documentary helped him learn more about the city and that the same project should be applied to other cities throughout the United States.
Boulder is one of Michael Bird’s first stops as he works to spread the word about the historic neighborhood, while promoting a sense of community across the state. With an anticipated release date six months down the road, Bird said he is sure to have his work cut out for him as he whittles down 27 hours of interviews into 90 minutes of mainstream material.
With the finished product, Bird said he has pledged to donate all proceeds to the 1st Note Music Foundation, a non-profit that will work to bring musical instruments and instruction to various schools within the Five Points area.
In the future, Bird said he wants to use his work to inspire students and give them a greater appreciation for history, culture and community.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Maranda Bodas at Maranda.email@example.com.