Kids content producer Cottonwood Media, in co-production with Opéra de Paris and international broadcasters Hulu, ZDF, ZDF Studios, and France Télévisions, have joined forces to produce the premium live-action tween series “Spellbound.” From the creators and producers of the hit drama “Find Me in Paris”, “Spellbound” (26x30’) is an exciting high-concept series that combines ballet, magic, witchcraft, and more, with diversity and inclusivity at the heart of the production.
In the story, when Cece Parker Jones, a vivacious 15 year old relocates from a small town in the United States to France to study at the Paris Opera Ballet School, she feels 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 has 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.
“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,’” said Jill Girling and Lori Mather, executive producers and showrunners.
“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,” commented Nicole Keeb, Head of International Co-productions and Acquisitions, Children and Youth Programs at ZDF.
Arne Lohmann, VP Junior at ZDF Studios, added: “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 at France Télévisions, remarked: “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.”
Lastly, Co-founders of Cottonwood Media, David Michel, Cécile Lauritano and Zoé Carrera Allaix, declared: “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). Federation Kids & Family (key distributor of Cottonwood Media’s content) and ZDF Studios will handle worldwide sales.