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Boise filmmaker battles cancer, works through COVID to finish 'Magpie Funeral'

The film debuted at the Flicks in downtown Boise and was shot in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City and the City of Trees.

BOISE, Idaho — If you have been to the Flicks in downtown Boise, you might have seen a showing for "Magpie Funeral," but what you might not know is the filmmaker behind it lives here in the City of Trees.

"Magpie Funeral" is a motion picture about a man who refuses to give up on his dreams. Those dreams are personal for the director, writer and producer behind the film, Greg Green.

“This motion picture is semi-autobiographical,” Green said. “A lot of the situations that are depicted in the film happened to me.” 

The film debuted at the Flicks theater last week. Green told KTVB it was important for the film to be shown in Idaho because part of it was also shot in Idaho.

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“A lot of the key scenes were shot here in Boise, most of the cemetery scenes that you'll see in the film were shot here,” Green said. “A lot of the bird shots or scenes are shot here. We live in a beautiful state and I just really wanted to show that off a little bit.”

Green started working on the film four years ago. It's been a long journey, filled with challenges, he said.

“I was working with a producer in Los Angeles, John Sweeney, and this was in 2019, and he insisted, we start shooting this film on Oct. 21, 2019. I said, ‘John, we're not ready.’ I wanted to start shooting late January in 2020.” 

Sweeney kept insisting, and so they did. After 22 days of shooting, they were done and Green came back to Boise.

“Five days later, I was diagnosed with cancer and if we would not have moved that date up, the film never would have happened,” Green said.

He was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Doctors have since removed his left kidney. Green is fine now, but he was working on the film through it all. 

“During the chemo process, I was able to edit the film and, you know, the chemo wasn't that bad. Frankly, I was able to function and do my job and edit,” Green said. 

By editing the start date of the film, they were able to avoid one other thing that impacted the whole world.

“We also were able to avoid COVID, so it all worked out great,” Green said.

He adds, with each scene filmed in the Gem State, there's an economic advantage. 

“We bring in people, there are restaurants, there are hotels, there are wardrobe, props, locations, all that has to be taken care of, but while that's happening, these folks got to spend their money somewhere and when they're in Boise, they will be spending it here,” Green said.

A win for everyone involved and an experience Green will replay for years to come. 

“The payoff is seeing your hard work up on the big screen with a theater full of people, and yes, it made everything I went through in the last four years absolutely worth it,” Green said.

"Magpie Funeral" was shot in three different locations: Los Angeles, Boise and Oklahoma City. 

The film’s last showing at the Flicks is on Thursday, Aug. 17. There are two showings, one at 4:50 p.m. and the other at 7:05 p.m. The film will then air in Twin Falls.

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