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Filming “Ilyanica” This Weekend

A cast and crew of approximately 20 people, made up of UT film students and local film community members, will shoot the film “Ilyanica” April 11-13 in the abandoned Old Travis County Jail at 1000 Guadalupe in Austin. Filming will take place from 6 PM to 10 PM Friday April 11 and 8 AM – 6 PM on Saturday April 12 and Sunday April 13.

See photos of the abandoned jail area.

Most people who drive by or who visit the Heman Marion Sweatt Travis County Courthouse in downtown Austin probably don’t realize the top two floors house the old county jail, in use from the 1930s until the 1980s, when a new jail was opened.

“Ilyanica”, directed by Scott Cobb, is a fictional short film about two American women, now in their 40s, who have been friends since college. They met each other in Berlin, Germany during their year abroad in college 20 years ago. Instead of returning to the U.S. after their junior year abroad, they remained overseas. Except for a few years back in the U.S., they have both spent most of their adult lives living outside the U.S. as expatriates.

In the film, Erica believes Ilyana has gotten herself in a difficult situation. Ilyana has become involved with a group of people occupying the abandoned jail of a closed military installation in Eastern Europe.

The Old Travis County Jail is doubling as an abandoned jail on a military base in Eastern Europe. In the fictional world of the film, the base has been scheduled for demolition, but many years ago the CIA used it as a so-called black site to interrogate people using waterboarding and other torture techniques as part of the Extraordinary Rendition and Detention Program.

Ilyana is played by Circe Sturm, an Austin actor who is also an Associate Professor in the UT Department of Anthropology. Erica is played by Cynthia Fray, who spent many years living in France.

“Ilyanica” is part three of a trilogy of films about the same two characters directed by Scott Cobb as he has pursued a degree in the UT Radio-Television-Film program. Scott will graduate in May 2014.

The first film in the series was “Ex Patria”, which was filmed at the W Hotel in downtown Austin. In “Ex Patria”, the characters are 21 years old. In the second film, “The There”, the characters are around 30. “The There” was filmed at Deep Eddy Pool one night in November 2013 when the pool was drained of water. See photos of “The There” at the film’s website, thetherefilm.com. As the characters have aged, different actors have portrayed them in each film.

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