Industry veterans Peter Mohan and Vanessa Shapiro join forces with author Josef Bastian to bring his award-winning and highly acclaimed young adult fantasy book series, Folktellers: Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook, to television. The announcement was made today by Josef Bastian, founder of Folktellers LLC.
Award-winning writer and producer Peter Mohan, whose credits include Orphan Black for BBC America, The Hardy Boys for Hulu, The Listener for FOX/ION/CTV, and Mutant X for Tribune, will serve as executive producer and showrunner. Former Gaumont executive Vanessa Shapiro (Amazon Prime’s El Presidente) will also serve as executive producer and handle global distribution under her company, Nicely Entertainment. The pair will work together with Bastian and Scott Paskoff — who also serves as executive producer — to develop the eight-book story arc into a live-action series for kids ages 8–12 years old. Season one of the series (10 x 45’) will be based on the first three books, Phase of the Moon, Cave in the Rock, and Shadows on the Silver Strings.
The Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook series tells the story of unassuming teenager, Aaron Anderson, who has his world turned upside down as he learns that his destiny is to become a Folkteller — a guardian and wielder of those essential stories that comprise the hopes, fears and potential of humanity across all dimensions. Aaron and a group of friends find themselves on a desperate mission to protect those stories from shadowy creatures whose goal is to snuff out all life and light wherever it might exist. And, along the way, Aaron will be forced to overcome his crippling lack of confidence and trust himself to use the primal power of these stories to fight back the darkness and bring order to the Universe.
The Moonbeam Children’s Book Award ranks Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook as one of the top fantasy series for young readers in 2020, with the second book, Cave in the Rock, earning a bronze medal in the Pre-Teen Fantasy Fiction category. Cave in the Rock is also the recipient of a Mom’s Choice Gold Award; and Phase of the Moon is a 2018 International Book Award Finalist.
“I’m thrilled to have gathered together this team of accomplished executives to bring Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook to the screen,” commented Josef Bastian. “The fantasy and folklore genres are extraordinarily popular because of their iconic characters, beautifully crafted worlds, and imperfect protagonists that offer a compelling balance between imagination and reality. Our series will deliver action and adventure as our heroes travel from dimension to dimension trying to stop the Shadows from carrying out their destructive plans, and will deliver humor, romance with the complicated interactions of our characters as they try to deal with growing up, saving their worlds, and staying alive at the same time.”
“Nicely Entertainment is thrilled to be part of such an amazing franchise and book series and I look forward to working closely with Josef, Peter and Scott to bringing this IP to a global audience,” said Vanessa Shapiro, CEO, Nicely Entertainment. “The adventure and moral complexity of Excerpts from an Unknown Guidebook offer a multi-generational appeal. Younger viewers will tune in for magic and adventure, while older teens and adults will be attracted to the complicated interplay between Aaron, his friends, and family.”
Mohan added, “I’m excited by the possibilities of telling stories set in the Folktellers franchise. This fantastical world offers opportunities to explore exciting adventures, engrossing characters and important universal themes. I look forward to working with the dynamic team that’s been assembled to bring this project to air.”
Paskoff noted, “It’s exciting to be part of the Folktellers team as we solidify key relationships and expand into new entertainment markets. The Guidebook Series is an original and compelling IP that epitomizes a rapidly growing global entertainment franchise. The addition of Vanessa and Peter makes the team stronger, and I look forward to working closely with them.”