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Dutch Thriller 'APP' Will Be First Film to Necessitate Smartphones in Theaters with Interactive Storyline

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood November 16, 2012 at 2:12PM

The Dutch are giving the highly contentious texting-in-theaters issue a whole new spin. Shooting began this week for the new thriller "APP," which will be the first film in the world to synchronize a parallel storyline via app content to be accessed while in the movie theater.
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Texting in theaters

The Dutch are giving the highly contentious texting-in-theaters issue a whole new spin. Shooting began this week for the new thriller "APP," which will be the first film in the world to synchronize a parallel storyline via app content to be accessed while in the movie theater.

While the sight of glowing smartphone screens is often infuriating and distracting, it will be reappropriated as a necessary component of the "APP" moviegoing experience, as codes and cryptic texts that the film's heroine receives will also appear on audience members' small screens throughout the theater.

Music video director Bobby Boermans is directing the film, from a script by Robert A. Jansen. Whether or not Boermans will be the sole "director" of the second-screen application to accompany the film is unclear. The director and Jansen collaborated last year for the thriller "Claustrofobia."

"APP" will hit theaters in the Netherlands in February 2013. Here's the official synopsis:

In the thriller APP, Anna (Hannah Hoekstra), a young student, gets caught up in her own virtual world. She is addicted to apps, social media and her smartphone. One day Anna discovers a mysterious new app on her phone. It has the answer to every question. Not just scientific questions, but also about her personal life and her friends. When the app starts sending her cryptic texts and codes connected to the sudden and strange deaths of people around her, it becomes evident that it is not just a handy app.

This article is related to: News, Digital Future, Mobile App, News


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.