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Llano transforming into Long Island, N.Y., for filming of series pilot

Austin-based Emergent Order will be filming a series pilot in Llano, which is filling in for Long Island, New York. Despite cultural and geographical differences, filmmakers saw plenty of similarities between Llano and Long Island, according to Terry 'Tex' Toler, Llano Main Street manager. Staff photo by JoAnna Kopp

For four days in August, you might hear more of “How you doin’?” than “Howdy” if you’re hanging around downtown Llano.

That’s because filmmakers will be transforming the town into Long Island, New York, for the pilot of “Freedom on Trial.” Filming will take place Aug. 8-12.

The series is the creation of Emergent Order, an Austin-based production company.

View the film HERE

Despite cultural and geographical differences, filmmakers saw plenty of similarities between Llano and Long Island, according to Terry “Tex” Toler, Llano Main Street manager and Historic Preservation Committee officer. He’s serving as a liaison between the city and the filmmakers.

“Long Island is really a series of small communities,” Toler said he was told by the filmmakers. “The only difference is Llano has angled parking; Long Island has parallel parking.”

The storyline of the production, the way Toler understands it, revolves around two younger, scrappy non-traditional attorneys who accept a case involving a young man doing work for an older shop owner.

“A lawsuit ensues after a minimum wage dispute,” he said.

The O'Henry School Building in Llano will serve as a setting in a series pilot being filmed in Llano on Aug. 8-12. Photo courtesy of Terry 'Tex' Toler

The O’Henry School Building in Llano will serve as the setting for a protest, The Llano News will be the attorneys’ office, Arrowhead Bank will serve as a Long Island police department, and Industrial Electric Service Supply will be the site of the business in the main storyline.

Filmmakers promised to film after business hours, Toler said.

“We’ve done a lot of work to make our town look nice and preserve architecture,” he said. “Those two things helped filmmakers view our town as a nice backdrop. We became a set in a way.”

If the pilot is picked up by a network, Toler said, filmmakers have indicated they’d like to remain in Llano for more shooting.

He believes there’s a chance that viewers of the show will want to travel to Llano to see the city, which could be an economic boost, much like what “Hope Floats” and “Steel Magnolias” did for the small towns of Smithville and Natchitoches, Louisiana.

“A hit adds that other element,” Toler said. “Movies, music and videos followed that success. People still go to towns like that. This is giving us bragging rights about a film being shot here.”

Aside from the economic benefits of having the pilot shot in Llano — since filmmakers will stay in local hotels and dine in Llano — Toler said residents could be hired for other jobs — at least 30 — as needed.

“After visiting Llano, we knew it was the perfect location to serve as the backdrop for our script,” said “Freedom on Trial” head writer Steve Krueger. “The cast and crew look forward to enjoying the town’s many shops, restaurants and river parks when not filming.”

Another reason Llano was chosen was because of its appointed status as a Film Friendly Texas community in March by the Texas Film Commission. The application process was started a decade ago.

Toler took hundreds of photos of Llano and the surrounding countryside and sent them to the commission for its website.

After filmmakers researched Llano, Toler invited them to the city for a personal tour to view sites and meet city officials, business leaders and residents.

For more about Emergent Order, go to emergentorder.com. For more about Film Friendly Texas, visit gov.texas.gov/film.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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There are 5 comments.

roberta k hoefar —
MY FRIEND AND I SPEND SIX MONTHS ON LONG ISLAND AND SIX MONTHS IN TEXAS. WE HAVE CAMPED IN LLANO A NUMBER OF TIMES. THE TOWN IS BEAUTIFUL AND THE PEOPLE ARE SOOOO NICE. I HOPE THIS WORKS OUT FOR THE FOLKS IN LLANO.
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Tracce Dale/actor —
I've recently lived in New York online up Long Island near Fire Island. Not sure who to contact I am a stand up comedian actor if they need any walk-in parts I live 25 minutes from Leno now but my number is still 516-4091 5145. If they need a walk-in roll please call
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Cy Franklin —
I live in llano! Excited to hear something fascinating coming to llano. I am a singer/songwriter/musician as well! Performing is my passion! Love this!!
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Mary Belle Ligon Schinnerer —
Walter Jay ("Sunny") Ligon, my father, was raised in Llano. He later settled on Long Island in Bellmore and Freeport, where I was raised. Always fond of both Llano and Bellmore & Freeport, I found them vastly different from accents to lifestyles. I hope I get to view this film upon completion - it sure to prove to be interesting!
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Nick Zackoff —
I would be glad to help out I was born on Long Island a small town called Amityville. Some people tell me I still have an accent I tell them Forget about it!!! 
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