Film chronicles band leader Martin Phillipps  unyielding pursuit of music in the face of tenuous fame, depression and addiction.

Kickstarter campaign under way offering exclusive Phillipps artwork, limited edition music and memorabilia.

Auckland New Zealand – September 19, 2017 – A new theatrical documentary uncovering the dramatic story of influential New Zealand band The Chills and their enigmatic leader Martin Phillipps is currently in the early stages of production by renowned music documentary producers Notable Pictures NZ in association with Fire Records UK.

An international Kickstarter campaign in support of Martin Phillipps and The Chills is now live, with the goal of raising NZD 60,000 within 30 days. Contributors will have an opportunity to acquire exclusive artwork by Phillipps, memorabilia and limited edition music.

In the 1980’s The Chills were the highest profile band on famed indie record label Flying Nun. At their height they shared a stage with Bjork, competed for the spotlight with R.E.M., and were poised to become international pop superstars. But the dream never became a reality.

Forced home to New Zealand deeply in debt, Phillipps collapsed into depression and addiction, replacing the thrill from live performance with the synthetic euphoria from homemade heroin. His darkest day was when the prick from a dirty needle gave him Hepatitis C. But he never gave up on his music.

Phillipps says “While I have been through some very dark times I have never stopped believing in and fighting for my music. But now I also have to fight for my recovery and my very life. Bad decisions and bad luck really have taken their toll. I’ve been forced to take better control of my health and make the best possible use of whatever remaining time I have. I must organise my legacy, as I am the only person who can accurately do that. And I must try to make the best and most honest music I have ever made – especially since the band is in the perfect state for this to happen. In some ways, the future is looking brighter, but there are still some darker possibilities. Whatever happens, I want to share it all with the documentary and make some damn fine cinema.”

Following on from a dire medical prognosis the film presents a current day resurgence story, a quest Phillipps will take to reconcile with the people who helped define his career, uncovering the history of a band, and “The Dunedin Sound” movement along the way.

“The story of The Chills has it all, death, drama and luminous music, but it’s Martin’s unrelenting pursuit of his creative vision in the face of the greatest odds that has inspired the creation of this film. Martin is a man at a turning point in his life. He is reconciling the wrong turns he’s made and has given us once in a life time access to the process,” says Director Julia Parnell.

Aiming for a 2019 worldwide release, the Kickstarter campaign will provide the film with a massive boost, allowing filming to continue while producers close the films full finance.

Martin Phillipps and The Chills will be a theatrical documentary that will not only thrill fans worldwide, but allow a new audience to discover the band from the bottom of the world that influenced a musical generation.

To learn more, please visit the official crowdfunding page at Kickstarter or contact the filmmakers:


The film has secured distribution and funding support from preeminent funding bodies the New Zealand Film Commission and NZ On Air, a distribution deal for Australasia from Madman Entertainment as well as a New Zealand broadcast license from Prime and a creative communities grant from Dunedin City Council.

Directors: Julia Parnell & Rob Curry
Producers: Tim Riley, Nicola Peeperkoorn, & Julia Parnell
Writer: Nicola Peeperkoorn
Director of Photography: Timothy Flower
Editor: Dion Schmidt
Line Producer: Lauren Lunjevich
Production Company:

NZ Publicist – Chris Henry 818 –
Producer – Nicola Peeperkoorn –

Share This