Hostage haven

Hill­side is on lock­down by the evil Haven Com­mu­nity.

TV Plus (South Africa) - - 7DE LAAN -

The 7de Laan­ers are in a state of panic this fort­night with res­i­dents be­ing held hostage by armed sol­diers who’re threat­en­ing to blow them up if they try to es­cape. Think they’re bluff­ing? A grenade rings through the sleepy suburb, al­most killing two of the res­i­dents . There is one per­son who could defuse the sit­u­a­tion though and come to her friends’ res­cue: the peren­ni­ally cheery, god-fear­ing Hilda (An­nelisa Wei­land). Is she will­ing to co- op­er­ate with their cap­tors. And at what cost?


The Haven’s cult leader Fran­cois (Chris van Niek­erk) – who lived in Hill­side years ago – has the Laan­ers ex­actly where he wants them. His sol­diers locked up ev­ery­one on Thurs­day 1 Novem­ber, split­ting them into groups at key build­ings in Hill­side like Bruyn­waves, Stasie Ses restau­rant, the club and the Beleef deli among them. They want Hill­side to be­come part of their or­gan­i­sa­tion, with peo­ple fol­low­ing their be­liefs no mat­ter how bizarre. They must give up all forms of tech­nol­ogy and hon­our Mother Na­ture. Fran­cois lost his san­ity off­screen when his wife died in a blaze started by a faulty elec­tric blan­ket. That was when he swore re­venge against tech­nol­ogy for killing peo­ple. He wants to rid hu­man­ity of gad­gets, us­ing Hill­side as a test. “He is fa­nat­i­cally con­vinced that in time, the Hill­siders will be­lieve the evil that tech­nol­ogy brings and that they will de­clare him their leader. He be­lieves that no one will be able to stop him,” says Chris. The Haven mem­bers are us­ing the deli as a head­quar­ters where Fran­cois, his step­daugther Suna (Anelle Bester) and their dis­ci­ples run their op­er­a­tions from. Their first com­mu­ni­ca­tion comes on Fri­day 2 Novem­ber from lawyer

Xan­der’s ( Theo Jan­tjies) of­fice. Xan­der at­tacks a sol­dier in a bid for free­dom, but dur­ing the scuf­fle a grenade is armed and det­o­nates, in­jur­ing Xan­der and bou­tique owner Con­nie (Quinne Brown Huff­man), who is stand­ing right be­side the weapon when it ex­plodes.


Fran­cois re­fuses to re­lease Xan­der and Con­nie to get med­i­cal at­ten­tion. Chris ex­plains that his char­ac­ter doesn’t want to give up any hostages be­cause he will lost his grip over them. “He is drunk with power and will rather let Xan­der and Con­nie die, which will help him con­vince Hill­side that it’s be­cause they had tech­nol­ogy in their lives that they are now dead. In the mean­time, the po­lice are work­ing be­hind the scenes with Hilda, Alexa (Ca­rina Nel) and Mari­aan (Deirdre Wol­huter), who weren’t in town when the sol­diers in­vaded and took hostages. Dra­matic Hilda is shocked when the po­lice show them footage of the man be­hind the chaos on Fri­day 2 Novem­ber. “Hilda knows Fran­cois from his years as the owner of Op­piekoffie,” says An­nelisa. “But this isn’t the Fran­cois she knows and loves.”


Fran­cois al­lows Fikani (Ni­cholas Nkuna) to treat Xan­der on Mon­day 5 Novem­ber un­der the watch of his

men. Con­nie is fad­ing fast from blood loss and Ma­trone (An­nel­ize van der Ryst-Hat­tingh), who has lim­ited med­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence, tries to help but there is only so much she can do. Cur­rent Op­piekoffie boss Char­maine ( Vinette Ebrahim) tries to talk some sense into Fran­cois, re­mind­ing him that they were good friends once be­fore. But Fran­cois isn’t lis­ten­ing to a word she says… un­til Char­maine men­tions Hilda. “Fran­cois has al­ways held a spe­cial place in his heart for Hilda and he re­mem­bers how he and Hilda’s ex­hus­band Oubaas (Pierre van Plet­zen) used to fight each other to win her af­fec­tion. When he hears that Hilda is still in Hill­side, some­thing is stirred in­side his heart that could ac­tu­ally change this en­tire sit­u­a­tion, ex­plains Chris. Fran­cois ap­proaches Char­maine and tells her to find Hilda. He will let Con­nie get the ur­gent med­i­cal treat­ment she needs, but only if Char­maine gets him what he wants.


Hilda gets word of the sit­u­a­tion and she re­alises just what a re­spon­si­bil­ity she has on her shoul­ders – she can save Con­nie on Tues­day 6 Novem­ber, ex­plains the ac­tress. “Her heart breaks for Con­nie and she agrees to go see Fran­cois im­me­di­ately if it means res­cu­ing her friends.” The Haven’s leader de­votes his full at­ten­tion when Hilda ar­rives, giv­ing the go-ahead for Fikani to treat Con­nie. “He is shocked when he sees her in­juries,” says An­nelisa. “He’s wor­ried that he may not be able to save her.” Hilda re­alises on Wed­nes­day 7 Novem­ber that Fran­cois is in­fat­u­ated with her when he pro­poses, giv­ing her an awk­ward con­di­tion that we’re not al­lowed to re­veal yet – but trust us, it’s not all it ap­pears to be!


Fran­cois, drunk on love and power, be­lieves that he’s in com­plete con­trol on Fri­day 9 Novem­ber and to cel­e­brate, he hosts a cer­e­mony with ev­ery­one decked out in loose-fit­ting white clothes. This isn’t the end though – a dra­matic event on Mon­day 12 Novem­ber is go­ing to change ev­ery­thing, for ev­ery­one… Rickus (An­dré Lot­ter) has been a Haven mem­ber since the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber when they brain­washed him af­ter find­ing him half-dead from the fight club. “Un­til now, Rickus be­lieved with his whole heart in Haven’s mantra, that tech­nol­ogy is evil. But he never thought that they would get vi­o­lent, take over Hill­side and be­have in this ex­treme man­ner,” shares An­dré. On Thurs­day 8 Novem­ber, Rickus tries to fight back and stop Fran­cois’s plan. “He con­fronts Fran­cois in Beleef and calls him sick and twisted and that he should let ev­ery­body go.” That merely an­tag­o­nises Fran­cois, who or­ders his men to tie up Rickus.


If you think the im­age qual­ity of 7de Laan is look­ing sharper, you have a good eye. And it’s in­ter­est­ing that the soap is fo­cus­ing on an anti-tech­nol­ogy sto­ry­line while the pro­duc­tion com­pany made the de­ci­sion to up­grade their very own film­ing tech. Since Thurs­day 25 Oc­to­ber, 7de Laan has been air­ing in high- def­i­ni­tion. But to do that, they had to move from their stu­dios in Lone­hill to Sisani Stu­dios in Lyn­d­hurst.


“Change is never easy,” says the soap’s pub­li­cist Rosa-Mari le Roux. “For 18 years, our stu­dios in Lone­hill were our home, but we made the de­ci­sion to up­grade and keep up with tech­nol­ogy so that we don’t stag­nate. Our new fa­cil­i­ties are also big­ger, which we’re max­imis­ing with three new HD-en­abled cam­eras. 7de Laan is now shar­ing stu­dios with the likes of Isidingo (1998- cur­rent), Rhythm City (2007- cur­rent), and Skeem Saam (2011- cur­rent), who also film at Sisani Stu­dios.

An­dré keeps close to his in­jured girl­friend Con­nie.

Hilda is the key to sav­ing Hill­side, if she agrees to Fran­cois’s pro­posal.

Fran­cois’s fol­low­ers are armed with bombs.

The Haven march to­ward Hill­side.

The Hill­siders are forced to wear the uni­form of their cap­tors.

Rickus was loyal to Haven.

A shirt­less Rickus con­fronts Fran­cois.

The club is one of the places Haven is keep­ing hostages.

The set de­sign­ers took hun­dreds of photos of the old sets be­fore mov­ing to the new stu­dios – here they’re busy re­build­ing the Op­pieKoffie cof­fee shop. Be­cause the im­ages be­ing broad­cast are all HD, ev­ery­thing had to be up­graded on the soap, from set de­tails through to wardrobe and even the make-up that is used. The pix­els on screen show ev­ery­thing – if you look closely, you can just about make out the pores in the ac­tors’ skin, which is why light-ab­sorb­ing make-up is used by makeup artists like Lucky on Deirdre Wol­huter (Mari­aan) and her co-stars.

The new stu­dios have sound­proofed walls to keep out any noise. One of 7de Laan’s new hi-def cam­eras – the three cost the soapie mil­lions of rands.

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