Saturday, December 10, 2005

A Dutch Harry Potter

On December 7, 2005 the Dutch langauge movie De Griezelbus (The Horror Bus) had its first showing in The Netherlands. It is our own local version of Harry Potter. The Horror Bus is the title of a highly successful series of books for youngsters, written by Paul van Loon. The Horror Bus has become a real cross media project. The books have been transformed into a musical, which got a lot of publicity. Religious groups demanded the performance to be cancelled as the theme was occult, without taste and immoral. The same objections made by some religious groups against Harry Potter books and movies. Now there is a movie, produced by the Hilversum-based BosBros. And a game is under development with the Amsterdam-based multimedia company IJsfontein.

This cross media policy is becoming common. Earlier two cross media projects were undertaken. A famous children book Puk van de Petteflet (Puk and his Tow Truck) by Annie M.G. Schmidt was turned into a movie and accompanied by a CD-ROM, also produced by IJsfontein. (It was a category winner in the 2005 edition of the

IJsfontein is often a part of the cross media project team. The company produced SketchStudio as part of the Klokhuis television program. Youngsters can use Sketch Studio to produce their own multimedia show. Before SketchStudio went online in November 2004, the website of the television show had 30.000 unique visitors a month. After the launch the visitors’ figures climbed to 95.000 registered visits. These visitors produced 400.000 sketches. The kids select a piece of scenery, from jungle to kitchen, and play with requisites like cakes, furniture. They direct persons, let them walk, dance, fall in love, quarrel and can give them voices. When the sketches are ready, they can be sent to the site.

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