Martin Phillipps and The Chills are among the founding pioneers of the iconic Dunedin Sound, a groundbreaking musical movement of the late 80s that inspired seminal musicians around the world and ushered in a vibrant alternative culture in New Zealand.
Finding fame in Europe with the otherworldly song ‘Pink Frost’ and on US college radio with the chart- topping ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’, The Chills came tantalizingly close to conquering the international musical world. But his uncompromising vision and constant pressure to succeed saw the eccentric songwriter Phillipps fall into decades of debt and addiction in his hometown of Dunedin, New Zealand. Now 54, Phillipps has been given a dire medical prognosis, forcing him to reconcile a lifetime of hoarding, alienating band-members and indulging in substance abuse to bravely embrace change while he still can.
Set against the backdrop of Dunedin - a misty and isolated small town - The Triumph & Tragedy of Martin Phillipps is a cautionary but life-affirming tale of what happens after the glory, about learning to cope with past decisions and the radical act of reinvention.
The film boasts intimate interviews with peers Neil Finn and an ever-revolving cast of band members as they ponder why this music from the bottom of the world has impacted so many and where it all went wrong. This unique story exemplifies the nature of regret, the acceptance of unfulfilled dreams and rediscovering a creative lifeline.