Where to start: The Earth is Flat (2016). Don’t be put off by the unpolished look and feel. Phillips’ trippy first-year film at CalArts uses an arsenal of collage, clay animation, and paper cut-outs to dive into conspiracy theories and the everyday struggle of sorting crap from truth. A striking, mature, and utterly original debut, unlike just about anything you’ll see in animation.
What to watch next: Goodbye Forever Party (2017). Phillips’ second-year film at CalArts was her first to start getting some wider attention from festivals and publications. Incorporating hand drawings and paper cutouts, Goodbye Forever Party is a funny, sincere, and deeply compassionate story about a woman named Lillith and her struggles with mental health, toxic work environments, and relationships. The rough-around-the-edges design and sound perfectly reflect the mental and emotional chaos of Lillith’s daily life.
Other key works: Stilton’s in Charge (2016), The Final Exit of The Disciples of Ascensia (2019), Secrets and Lies in A Town of Sinners (2020)
Influences: Richard Condie, Sally Cruikshank, Amy Lockhart
Says: “I try and capture certain emotions or certain points in my life and make a world that is made out of those things […] informed by how things feel rather than what they are. They’re also cartoons, that’s a thing.”
Currently working on: Season 2 of Secrets and Lies in a Town of Sinners, funded via Patreon. It’s 10 episodes, and will pick up where her latest film, Barber Westchester, ends. Phillips also has plans for a new feature, The Cone Layer.
In the meantime, Barber Westchester will screen in competition at the upcoming Ottawa International Animation Festival, where a retrospective of her work will also be screened.