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Hulu, ZDF, France TV become Spellbound by Cottonwood tween ballet series

Ballet-themed tween series Spellbound

Disney-owned streamer Hulu, German pubcaster ZDF and its commercial arm ZDF Studios, and France Télévisions have joined forces with French prodco Cottonwood Media to coproduce a ballet-themed tween series called Spellbound.

Inspired by Cottonwood’s teen drama Find Me in Paris, Spellbound (26×30’) is a live-action series telling the story of a 15-year-old girl who relocates from a small town in the US to France to study at the Paris Opera Ballet School. Once there she discovers a book of family spells in the back room of her aunt’s apothecary.

Production is scheduled to commence this summer in Paris and later in Brussels. The series is created by the same original executive producers and showrunners behind Find Me in Paris, Jill Girling and Lori Mather.

Each storyline has magic, mystery and dance interwoven with elements such as school challenges, relationships, rivalry, romance and comedy.

With a BIPOC lead character, the emphasis is also on diversity and inclusivity in casting and writing, said the producers.

The series is produced by Cottonwood’s Zoé Carrera Allaix, Cécile Lauritano and David Michel. Cottonwood’s parent company Federation Kids & Family will handle global distribution of the series alongside ZDF Studios.

Find Me in Paris, which is also set at the Paris Opera Ballet School, has run for three seasons since 2018 and follows a young girl training to be a ballerina who gets caught up in time travel.

“Having worked in the ballet world for a few years, we got excited about telling aspirational stories with a BIPOC lead,” said Girling and Mather in a statement, adding that the new show would have “a fully diverse writers’ room, giving us new and different perspectives than we’ve had in the past, allowing us to tell authentic stories.”

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, the Spellbound project appealed to us because it goes further in terms of diversity and inclusion.”


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