Helmer dials up skein for cellphone screens

Viewers encouraged to interact with thesps

AMSTERDAM — Holland’s hottest small- and bigscreen director Johan Nijenhuis is ringing the changes.

He will produce “Young South,” the first interactive drama aimed at the Internet and mobile phones that can receive pictures.

The twice-daily series will be a joint venture between the Dutch branch of MSN and the cross-media production company Media Republic. It is set to launch in June.

Each episode will consist of five still images, supported by text and sound. MSN subscribers will pay E1 ($1.09) per week to see the series on either platform.

Nijenhuis says the mobile phone possibilities are especially interesting. “We’re seeing it as a whole new way of broadcasting,” he says.

Viewers will be encouraged to become buddies with the actors and interact with them through the messenger service. They can also try out for roles in the series by sending in photos of themselves via mobile phone.

Some of the top Dutch film and TV stars have signed on to play in the series, including Froukje de Both, who starred in Nijenhuis’ “Costa,” and Aukje van Ginneken, a Dutch soap star.

“Costa” was the biggest Dutch-lingo box office grosser in 2001, and Nijenhuis directs the TV series based on the movie, which is going into its second season.

Advertising is also expected to bring in extra coin for partners in the venture, including Nijenhuis’ company Nijenhuis & De Levita Film & TV.

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