Producing a series like Die Brug [The Bridge], takes months of planning. The right players must be chosen, the perfect filming location has to be found, and then there’s all the logistics necessary to enable a whole production team to create the best possible series in a remote location.
The first episode of Die Brug, which consists of eleven episodes, starts on Thursday, 26 October, at 20:00 on kykNET (DStv channel 144). It was filmed at the Buffeljags Dam outside Swellendam, and for the construction of the sets, the saying “local is lekker” definitely applied.
“Everything used to build the Houthuis [Log House], except for some of the lights, were sourced from the Swellendam area,” says Freddy Louw, creative director and producer at Red Pepper Pictures. “All the recycled material, every piece of furniture, and all the props were bought or rented from thrift stores in the town or from farmers in the area. For example, some of the mail vessels were supplied to us by a local milkman. The wood we used to build the Houthuis comes from a local hardware supplier, and the wood used to build the rafts for Die Brug comes from a local pine forester.”
The front door of the Houthuis is an old stable door. The fireplace, the stove, and even the metal plates used for the roof were all previously used. “Once the Houthuis was built, our production designer, Laré Brink, and her team moved in and kitted the house out with furniture, cutlery and other elements.”
Local craftsmen were hired to build the sets. “Uncle Kosie, as the head of construction, was responsible not only for the construction of the Houthuis but also for the construction of the Eiland [Island] and the Toring [Tower], along with his right-hand man, Emile. The biggest challenge was protecting the structures from the weather,” says Freddy. “The mountain winds in the area can be especially dangerous.”
The floor plan for the Houthuis was designed by Freddy and Cecil Barry, and construction took about three months. “We focused on the details, and everything – from the doorknobs to the lights – was carefully chosen. We wanted to strike a balance between a functional space and a space with visual impact,” says Freddy.
Inspiration for the design came from various sources: “From action films and illustrations in CJ Langenhoven books to interior decorating magazines. The appearance was often determined by the recycled materials we could obtain. We wanted to create a hunting lodge feel and celebrate Afrikaans culture.”
Die Brug is produced by Red Pepper Pictures. The series will be available on DStv Premium on kykNET (DStv Channel 144) from Thursday 26 October 2023