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Maeve Binchy's Anner HouseRTÉ One

Interview with Director and Producer

Stephen Burke, Director

For Director, Stephen Burke, Cape Town was also a complete surprise. "On the one hand it was much more sophisticated than I had expected, but there were parts that were still very third world. I was also shocked by the diversity of the people. I had thought there would be just black and white, but discovering the Cape Coloured and the Cape Malay communities was a real eye-opener" explains Stephen.

When he arrived in Cape Town, Stephen had just three weeks to get a handle on the city. "I felt I got to know Cape Town through Neil's eyes. Looking at places like Long Street with its particular architecture and African murals, visiting the townships was a real learning curve". Tora adds "we made a point in the script of showing how breathtakingly beautiful the city is, we filmed everything, the mountains, the beaches, the harbour, the wine-lands you name it."

The centre piece of the film was finding the building that would represent the Anner House hotel. "When choosing this location, I wanted to move further out of the city. I wanted huge a landscape and big sky, like Terrence Mallick's 'Days of Heaven'" says Stephen.

After visiting over 20 large properties the team eventually discovered Assegaaibos nestling in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve just outside Stellenbosch. Built in 1792 this authentic Cape Dutch House was chosen because of its double front door, thatched roof, sweeping front lawn and its state of dis-repair. "We needed to see the building evolve, it was a house you could renovate from scratch and one of the main features was missing - the large gable on the front of the house. I met with Johnny Breedt our Production Designer and he assured me that he could make an authentic Dutch gable - I just took a leap of faith. He went back to his workshop outside Johannesburg and constructed the gable and transported it by road all the way to Cape Town, it was a fantastic job" Stephen explains.

"Assegassibos is one of my most favourite places in the world, the huge mountain ranges behind it are awesome and when you look up to the sky in the afternoons, you see the eagles flying over head, just blissful".

Tora Young, Producer

"To produce your first film in a place like Cape Town with those breathtaking locations, a perfect cast, and an amazing hard working crew has been brilliant" comments Tora. "I had no idea what Cape Town looked like, it always doubled for something else in films - Los Angeles in the 30s in the Colin Farrell movie 'Ask the Dust', or Colombia/Sierra Leone in the Nicolas Cage movie 'Lord of War' or even London in 'The Flood' with Robert Carlisle. In our film Cape Town plays itself for a change"

Neil and Ruth
Neil and Ruth