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Sam Logan Khaleghi (center) directing on set of a movie with Holly Police Chief Jerry Narsh (far right). Submitted photo

 Holly is becoming a hot spot for filmmakers. A company shot a few scenes of a Christmas movie at the Holly Hotel this past month, and now the Holly Union Depot will be the subject of a film.

 Production company SLK Media Group is making a romantic comedy, called “Cupid’s Christmas,” about the village’s efforts to save the historic train station. They start filming at the end of January.

 Sam Khaleghi, owner of SLK Media Group, is hoping to have a red carpet event in Holly potentially in the early summer. It will be a film both adults and kids enjoy.

 “The mission of the character in the movie is the same mission as ours,” he said. “To save the Holly Depot.”

 The current Depot, built in 1886 after a fire burned down the original, has been an historic focal point of the Holly community since the 1860s, when the railway helped connect Canada to the eastern U.S. and allowed more travel in the state. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Due to the building’s location and safety policies, it can no longer be used and workers cannot do maintenance. 

 The Depot Committee has been engaging in fundraising efforts to move the depot about 1,000 feet northwest to a better location. 

 On Tuesday, Nov. 11, the Holly Village Council announced the film. Village Manager Jerry Walker said filmmakers plan to use multiple locations in Holly and the surrounding areas in the movie. 

 “The Depot was selected by this particular filmmaker in part so that he could give back to the community,” he said. “We will be able to turn around and use that film, or portions of it, for our promotional endeavors to raise money to, in fact, help us save the Holly Depot. So it’s a really neat concept and we’re very appreciative. So I think it’s a win-win in every way for the Holly community and certainly for this project.”

 Holly Village has an ordinance that states that if a production company films in the village and utilizes village resources, then they will reimburse the village for those services. The Holly Village Council voted to waive any fees in regards to that ordinance. 

 Richard Kinnamon, executive director of the Holly Chamber of Commerce, said the Depot Committee is excited for this movie. 

 “I think it’s going to be a fun movie. We’re going to reenact some of the Dickens Festival with the stage, and maybe the parade, and just have a good time. Holly is the place,” Kinnamon said. 

 Khaleghi is a southeast Michigan native who used to live in Los Angeles. He and his company create brand entertainment videos and he’s worked with multiple platinum recording artists to create high-end music videos. His goal is to continue to grow his company and make more films in Michigan. 

 “I love it here. Most of my creative partners are from here. I’m trying to reinvigorate the creative economy in Michigan as opposed to always taking films to L.A.,” he said. 

 Holly, with Christmas decorations still adorning the historic aspects of the area, is an easy location to choose for a holiday movie. 

 “Holly is so right for a holiday romcom,” he said. “It’s mainstream Americana. That’s what’s so beautiful about it. Every store, every boutique, all of that. My production manager said everything is still very much historic. The character of downtown Holly is very much still alive.”

 This isn’t the first movie Khaleghi will film in Holly. “An Intrusion,” co-starring Billy Boyd (“Lord of the Rings” franchise), Scout Taylor-Compton (“Halloween” franchise) and Keir Gilchrist (Netflix’s “Atypical”), was partially shot in Holly along Saginaw Street, at the police station featuring Holly Police Department, and at a church in downtown Holly. It comes out on DVD and BluRay on January 25

 Khaleghi first learned about the Holly Depot while shooting this film.

Holly Police Chief Jerry Narsh is a close personal friend of Khaleghi and they decided to collaborate cinematically after discussing the potential positive impact of the film in Holly.

 “It’s a beautiful historical site that’s not only a part of Holly’s history, but a part of American history. We’re hoping to bring positive attention to what the Depot means to our mutual history as Michiganders,” Khaleghi said. 

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