Cottonwood Media, Hulu, ZDF, ZDFStudios, Federation Kids France TV unveil premium live action tween series SPELLBOUND
Premium kids content producer Cottonwood Media , in co-production with Opéra de Paris, and leading international broadcasters Hulu, ZDF, ZDF Studios, and France Télévisions have announced they have joined forces to produce the enchanting premium live-action tween series SPELLBOUND.
From the creators and producers of the hit drama “Find Me in Paris”, SPELLBOUND (26 X ½ hrs) is an exciting high-concept series that combines ballet, magic, witchcraft, and more, with diversity and inclusivity at the heart of the production.
When Cece Parker Jones (starring newcomer Hailey Melody Romain), a vivacious 15 year old relocates from a small town in the US to France to study at the Paris Opera Ballet School, she’s on top of the world. But things turn upside down when she discovers a book of family spells in the back room of her Aunt Ginger’s apothecary which is dedicated to organic and plant-based products. While snooping through the book, she unknowingly casts the antidote to a protection spell that has been hiding her identity since she was a little girl. And in doing so, she summons her nemesis. This spit-fire teen must juggle the pressures of an elite ballet school, learning new techniques she’s never studied before, keeping up with her intense academics, not to mention her new friendships and maybe a cute boy… or two, as well as her incredible ability to activate magic, while keeping the underground Coven a secret for only her closest friends.
With filming scheduled to commence this summer in Paris and later Brussels, SPELLBOUND, inspired by the pioneering hit series Find Me in Paris, is created by the same original executive producers and showrunners Jill Girling and Lori Mather (Find Me in Paris, Ride). Each storyline has been crafted to appeal to the tween demographic – while magic, mystery and dance are interwoven with elements such as school challenges, relationships, rivalry, romance, comedy and more, delivering a high-calibre entertainment series for a global audience.
Jill Girling and Lori Mather said: “Having worked in the ballet world for a few years, we got excited about telling aspirational stories with a BIPOC lead. With a fresh perspective on ballet and the added excitement of a magical twist, Cece and her friends have a lot of exciting stories for us to share. We are thrilled to have a fully diverse writers’ room, other than the two of us, giving us new and different perspectives than we’ve had in the past, allowing us to tell authentic stories for Spellbound.”
SPELLBOUND has already worked its magic by attracting a stand-out creative team. Line Producer is Renaud Mathieu (Emily in Paris, Patriot), and Series Lead Director is Alexander Jacob (Theodosia, 4 O’clock Club, Hollyoaks). Directors include Annie Bradley (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Expanse), as well as Robert Burke (Find Me in Paris, Free Rein). The series is produced by Cottonwood Media’s Zoé Carrera Allaix, Cécile Lauritano and David Michel.
Federation Kids & Family (key distributor of Cottonwood Media’s content) and ZDF Studios will handle worldwide sales.
Nicole Keeb, Head of International Co-productions and Acquisitions, Children and Youth Programs, ZDF, remarked: “It was easy for us to instantly fall in love with this wonderful concept! SPELLBOUND will fit perfectly into ZDF’s portfolio of high-profile live action teen series. We have been working with Cottonwood’s creative team on many projects and are very much looking forward to continuing our fruitful cooperation.”
Arne Lohmann, VP Junior at ZDF Studios adds: “After the tremendous success of FIND ME IN PARIS, it was only logical to partner again with the great production team of Cottonwood and the Paris Opera House. SPELLBOUND will delight audiences just like FIND ME IN PARIS did and we are proud to be part of it.”
Claire Heinrich, Deputy director of Children’s and Head of Acquisitions, France Télévisions said: “After Find me in Paris, which enchanted our viewers for three seasons in the exceptional setting of the Paris Opera, the Spellbound project appealed to us because it goes further in terms of diversity and inclusion. We are delighted to continue our collaboration with the Cottonwood team on this “magical” series and to enrich our fiction offering with strong female representations, aimed at tweens demo who consume them mainly on our Okoo platform.”
Co-founders of Cottonwood Media, David Michel, Cécile Lauritano & Zoé Carrera Allaix said: “We have anchored a superb team for this production and are delighted to further consolidate our partnership with such great broadcasters. Having kept the Paris Opera House as the main setting as per Find Me in Paris, SPELLBOUND brings a completely fresh and innovative storyline with some surprise elements to delight audiences worldwide.”
SPELLBOUND is a high-budget global co-production between US streamer Hulu, German pubcaster ZDF and its commercial arm ZDF Studios, French state broadcaster France Télévisions, and leading international kids prodco Cottonwood Media (France/Germany).