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Scenes for upcoming film shot at hospital, football field

HOT SPRINGS - Several dozen area students and residents, along with two Hot Springs institutions, became a part of movie magic last week, as Linn Productions of Rapid City was in town filming scenes for their upcoming movie entitled "Until Forever."

The faith-based film chronicles the true-life story of Michael Boyum, a young man from Inver Grove Heights, Minn., who died at the age of 23 on Oct. 17, 1999, after being diagnosed with leukemia just one year earlier. At the time of his diagnosis, Boyum had one year left at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls, where he was studying to be an elementary school teacher. Boyum, who was also a karate instructor, battled through a year of treatments for his cancer, which included chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant from his then-19-year-old brother Matthew, who later spiraled into depression following the failed treatment.

"Until Forever" condenses Boyum's story into a couple of years, from when he and his then-girlfriend Michelle met and later were married in front of hundreds of their friends and family in Inver Grove Heights, just six weeks before Boyum's death.

Tanya Aby, a producer with Linn Productions, said prior to coming to Hot Springs several scenes had already been shot in and around Boyum's hometown of Inver Grove Heights, including a wedding scene. Crews planned to be in Hot Springs on-and-off from Sept. 7 through Sept. 19. Last week, several days were spent shooting at Fall River Hospital and then at Hot Springs High School, where a prom scene was shot at Case Auditorium on Friday night, and then on Saturday a football game was recreated and shot at Woodward Field.

Aby said that both Fall River Health Services and Hot Springs High School had been very accommodating and helpful with making arrangements for the filming.

Why film in Hot Springs?

While many of the key scenes were shot in and around Boyum's hometown, Hot Springs' close proximity to Linn Productions in Rapid City played a role in deciding to film here, but according to Aby, she said both Fall River Hospital and Hot Springs High School also captured the right "feel" for the film.

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She said the hospital in Hot Springs was newer and provided a "quieter" atmosphere for filming, and since it was not currently at capacity, there were rooms that could be easily set aside and utilized. She said that the gymnasium in Case Auditorium also provided that "iconic high school prom look" with the stage adjoining the basketball court, similar to the prom scene in the movie "Back to the Future," she said.

The fact that Hot Springs High School was also celebrating homecoming the same week helped out immensely as well, as several students came over from the homecoming dance in the Middle School Activities Center, to be part of the prom scene being shot in Case Auditorium at the same time.

Hot Springs High School football players and fans then also played extras in the filming of the football scene at Woodward Field on Saturday night.

Playing the lead role of Michael Boyum is Stephen Anthony Bailey, an actor originally from Indiana but who now makes his home in Los Angeles. Bailey has acted in a number of short films and TV series, including two episodes of the current CBS sci-fi series Extant.

Playing his opposite in the lead role of his girlfriend Michelle, is Madison Lawlor, an actress also from Los Angeles.

Bailey, who looks remarkably similar to the real-life Boyum, said several authentic items from Boyum's life were being utilized in the filming of "Until Forever," including his actual nunchucks from his karate classes, the actual unity candles from his wedding, as well as the actual children's art work given to Boyum by the children of Inver Grove to hang in his hospital room.

Aby said the film - which is the story of Boyum's battle with leukemia, his football playing brother Matthew's struggle with depression, and true love running out of time - is expected to be completed by early summer/late fall of 2015 and distributed by Vision Video.

She said they are looking at some limited theater releases in the area, adding that they had worked with Carmike Theaters in the past with other productions. A showing at the Hot Springs Theater was also possible, but nothing has been discussed with them at this point she said.

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