CANNES — German public broadcaster ZDF has re-upped for a second season of “Find Me in Paris,” a pioneering time-traveling ballerina series produced by Paris-based Federation Kids & Family, ZDF, ZDF Enterprises, the net’s commercial arm, and Cottonwood Media, Federation Kids & Family’s sister production company at Federation Entertainment.
The Season 2 renewal, made off the back of the first episodes of Season 1, was confirmed on the cusp of this weekend’s MipJunior where Federation Kids & Family and ZDFE will be sneak-peaking excerpts from “Find Me in Paris’s” first three episodes. It marks further validation for a 26-part half-hour series which, sold by Federation K & F and ZDFE, has attracted an impressive lineup of blue-chip partners, being made in association with Hulu – in what looks like one of the U.S. streaming service’s earliest original teen co-productions – French pubcaster France Televisions, Disney Channel France and ABC Australia.
Set to air first-half 2018, and produced by industry veterans David Michel, Zoé Carrera Allaix, Cecile Lauritano, and Pascal Breton, along with line producer Leila Smith, “Find Me in Paris” turns on Lena Grisky, a young dancer – and Russian princess to boot – poised to become the next young star of the ballet world in 1905 – when she is catapulted to Paris 2018 where, still a young ballerina, she has to contend with hip-hop, a possible new love interest and sinister young Time Collectors, who think she’s infringing the laws of time travel.
“Find Me in Paris” may be several years ahead of its time as well. While the international industry is plunging into high-end primetime adult drama, few companies have attempted this in the tween domain, which is dominated by sitcoms and domestic-market-only originals.
Mostly shot on location in Paris with VFX, time travel and period scenes, “Find Me in Paris” cost €12 million ($14.2 million), about €460,000 ($545,000) per episode when most teen half-hours come in around €350,000, said David Michel, Federation Kids & Family managing director and Cottonwood Media Founder.
While U.S.-U.K.co-productions are multiplying, created by Jill Girling and Lori Mather-Welch, the duo behind Nickelodeon’s hit series “Ride,” “Find Me in Paris” is also “a North American show that is produced by a European company,” said Michel. “We’re the second French company to do it, after Zodiak with ‘Versailles,’ the first English-speaking show with a U.S. and U.K- cast, directors everything, but shot in France by a French company,” he added.
Shot against the backdrop of the Garnier Opera House Ballet in Paris, with its final-year students body-doubling the series’ stars in seamless face replacement, “Find Me in Paris” is, moreover, only the second kids show to be made in partnership with the Paris Opera Ballet in its 200-year history, Michel said. The dance scenes choreography is supervised by the Garnier Opera House Ballet head choreographers, “some of the best in the world are doing that,” Michel enthused.
“Find Me in Paris” will also feature “crazy hip-hop battles at the Eiffel Tower and Paris rooftop dance scenes so yes,” Michel said.
“We are selling ballet and the fantasy of being a foreign student in Paris to the audience,” he concluded.