Committee LA, the creative content production studio led by Directors Frank Samuel, Jeff Reed and Executive Producer Lauren Bayer, has added two award-winning indie filmmakers to their roster, Jennifer Phang, director of the 2015 feature “Advantageous” that won the Special Jury Award for Collaborative Vision at the Sundance Film Festival, and was subsequently acquired by Netflix; and Husein Alicajic, the Australian writer/director whose numerous creative awards include a Clio, Cannes Lion, Promax and the 2005 Inside Film Award for Best Unproduced Screenplay for “Divine Shadows.”
Samuel also noted that the addition of Phang and Alicajic not only brings Committee LA a fresh perspective to draw from creatively, but also adds balance to a roster that also includes established talents such as Samuel, Reed, Adam Goldstein, David Cornell and Peter Billingsley.
Phang joins Committee LA following a 2015 that saw her film “Advantageous,” which she directed, wrote and edited, win the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Collaborative Vision (given to both Phang and film’s star Jacqueline Kim) that year, resulting in Netflix acquiring the film’s worldwide distribution rights. The film is available via Netflix.
Blending sci-fi themes and striking visual effects into a story that at its heart was a parable about a mother's love, sacrifice and society's worship of youth, “Advantageous” struck chord for many who watched it, leading to her signing with Committee LA for commercials. Phang also recently directed an episode of the FOX Television hit horror series “The Exorcist” based on the seminal film of the same name.
The Bay Area native graduated from the American Film Institute with a Masters of Fine Arts in Film Directing and notes that countless viewers have discovered “Advantageous” on Netflix and have reached out to her through social media to say how moved they were by the story.
“A lot of care went into it making the film – from the story conception, to the performances, to the visual effects and design -- and I’m glad to know audiences around the world respond to it,” Phang says.
A native of Sydney, Australia, Alicajic built a reputation in his native land for his award-winning advertising work for such brands as Samsung, United Health, Foxtel, Officeworks, Taubmans paint that all feature his distinct, whimsical style that emphasizes a blend of creative production design and visual effects at times recall the work of filmmakers like Tim Burton or David Fincher.
His ad work has been singled out for several prestigious international awards, including the Australian Directors Guild award for the Officeworks’ spot "Let Their Amazing Out” in the category of Best Commercial Director; as well as his short for Motor Neurone Disease called the “The Fading Symphony” that was shortlisted at Cannes and Clios, and won Silver at Ciclope Awards last year.
His unique visual sense is on further display in his short films “Harry The Hunchback” (2002) and “Beginnings” (2005). His resume also includes a 2005 Inside Film Award for Best Unproduced Screenplay for “Divine Shadows.”
In 2012 he relocated to Los Angeles to focus more on feature film projects, which include writing the screenplay for the official biopic of legendary country singer/songwriter Waylon Jennings, and directing on the upcoming feature film “Snowbound.”
“As a filmmaker I’m fascinated by the sense of ‘magical realism’ -- where they everyday life is heightened, it’s not quite a fantasy world just 2 or 3 clicks to left of normal,” Alicajic says. “That feeling of discovering new visual worlds for the first time works well for brands and agencies, and that what I look forward to bringing to Committee LA.”