By Natalia DiGiosia
Independent Boise filmmaker, Greg Green, has worked tirelessly on his feature-length film Magpie Funeral that’s ready to debut at The Flicks on August 11th. Greg has lived a lifetime of filmmaking and has spent the past five years on this project—writing, producing, directing, and editing Magpie Funeral. The movie was partially filmed in Boise! Greg is a die-hard filmmaker, ready to celebrate this world premiere.
Magpie Funeral is about a man who refuses to give up on his dreams. The story follows Sy McMurphy (Darren Burrows, from Northern Exposure) who is a bird lover—especially magpies. In fact, Sy wants to witness a magpie funeral one day. Sy also yearns to be a successful screenwriter. But for decades, he has been sending screenplays to Hollywood directors with no success. For now, he has settled for an unsatisfactory job directing tedious shows for a local TV station. Randy (David Weisenberg) is Sy’s boss at the station and longtime nemesis who takes out his frustrations on Sy. Then one day Sy meets Nancy (Meredith Shank) and her five-year-old daughter Lisa (Elizabeth Leach). Suddenly, events are set in motion which defy Sy’s convictions of love and success. The birds sing, a child dreams, Sy connects and searches for his purpose. It’s a story we can all relate to.
Many Scenes were Shot in Boise.
Right from the beginning of Magpie Funeral, Boise is the star of the show. You’ll see an
aerial shot, along with various clips in the streets and alleys of ‘BoDo.’ The many bird scenes that appear in the film—western tanagers, owls, and magpies—were all photographed right here in Boise.
One scene takes place at Rediscovered Bookshop on 8th Street, a fast-forwarded action sequence of people grabbing a popular children’s book off the shelves. Many cemetery scenes that appear were shot at a local cemetery. Even the trees of Harrison Boulevard made the cut as windshield reflection seen while Sy (Darren Burrows) and Jonnie (Jasmine Please) are driving.
For Greg, Filmmaking Began with an 8mm Camera and a Dream.
Many people light-up when learning that Greg is an independent filmmaker. Film has been in his heart his whole life. Growing up in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he found an 8mm camera and started making sci-fi movies at age nine. He studied at the University of Iowa and earned a BFA in film. After that, Greg worked on various motion pictures including Thief (Michael Mann) and Blues Brothers (John Landis). Greg was hired by television shows such as 60 Minutes and the CBS Reports. Decades later his second feature film, 3 of a Kind, won Best Picture & Best Director at the 2012 Houston International Film Festival.
Despite the romance of owning the title of “filmmaker,” the job is a hustle. Greg has seen every frame of this movie several hundred times. During the editing process, he sliced, diced, and reconfigured the same clip over and over until his eye said it was just right. The Magpie Funeral soundtrack—mostly original music recorded by a string orchestra—constantly played from his home office as Greg watched, re-watched and tweaked the film.
Greg Green’s dedication to this project is admirable. Like his character Sy, Greg never let go of his filmmaking dreams. Today he’s even more involved with distributing the film to local and regional theaters and getting ready to direct another film in October entitled Tempest.
“It’s almost magical how everything worked out with this film.”
Greg explained how the timing of creating Magpie Funeral was extraordinary.
Magpie Funeral’s producer, John T. Sweeney insisted that shooting begin on October 22, offering Greg no good reason. Greg wanted to start the following January, but he relented, and the production began that October. After shooting in Los Angeles and Oklahoma City, the production wrapped, and Greg arrived home to Boise exhausted. Five days later, Greg developed painful symptoms that sent him to the emergency room. The next day in the hospital, the bad news was revealed—cancer in the left kidney.
Greg has fully recovered, but if John did not insist on that production start date, there would be no Magpie Funeral. If filming started later in winter or spring, Covid-19 would have shut it down. Happening in the perfect window, Greg edited the film while undergoing chemotherapy and during the lock-downs, allowing him to recover and do what he loves.
Magpie Funeral will play at The Flicks for a Limited Time!
For people tired of the traditional blockbuster storylines, Magpie Funeral is a film about coming to peace with life’s transitions. It’s a great movie for a date night, especially in the heat of summer. Seeing Magpie Funeral is an opportunity to support the local film community by visiting The Flicks, the charming independent movie theater in Downtown Boise. Celebrating 40 years next year, The Flicks was awarded Boise’s Best, Lifetime Achievement Award!
One of the best parts about seeing a movie at The Flicks is their menu of affordable drinks and entrees, including a killer chicken and spinach lasagna, grilled paninis, buttery popcorn, beer and wine, and the most refreshing cold cream soda you can find in Boise.
Greg is beyond excited to share his movie with the Boise community. Tell your friends, plan a date night, and have a night out to see Magpie Funeral at The Flicks! Tickets are available at the box office.