EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Phang’s Good Neighbors Media has secured the film and television rights to the upcoming Todd Mitchell YA novel, The Naming Girl.
The story centers on Ash Narro, who is known in her village for her peculiar knack for naming sticks, rocks, carpet bags, and anything else that catches her fancy. But when terrible shape-shifting monsters charge out of the cloud forest to attack her village, Ash discovers that names have power. In this steampunk fairy tale, the perils of deforestation and the power of friendship are explored through a fantastical adventure involving giant mist leopards, tempestuous forest spirits, and a girl with a special gift for shaping what things become.
Phang will direct the project under her Good Neighbors Media banner, with Robert M. Chang overseeing development on behalf of the company. Both had collaborated on Good Neighbor’s inaugural, award-winning film, Advantageous which made its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and won the Dramatic Jury Prize for Collaborative Vision. Netflix acquired global streaming rights on the sci-fi mother-daughter drama. Good Neighbors Media has several projects on its slate, including Canopy and Look for Water.
“Good Neighbors Media blew me away with their subtle and innovative world-building in Advantageous. Their interest in exploring vital social and environmental issues through engaging narratives aligns perfectly with my values, and the creative concerns of my work. I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to have them develop my work for film,” said Mitchell.
“I’m excited to bring another fantastical world to life. The themes in The Naming Girl are particularly timely. It is a story for audiences of all ages about the power of genuine friendship, adventure, and human connection with nature,” stated Phang.
Phang has a massive TV directing resume including credits on such series as Riverdale, The Expanse, Amazon Prime’s upcoming superhero series The Boys starring Karl Urban, as well as the Season 2 premiere of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger for Freeform. Phang will be next directing the pilot and first episode block of Sulphur Springs, a new series for Disney+. She is repped by ICM Partners and MSW Media Management.
Mitchell is the author of several books for middle-grade and teen readers, including The Last Panther, Traitor King, The Secret to Lying, and Backwards. Currently, he teaches creative writing in Fort Collins, Colorado, where he lives with his wife, two wily daughters, and one very smart dog. He is repped by Curtis Brown, Ltd.