EP68 – Sonja Phillips – Award-winning Writer & Director – Broken Stones / You Do Something To Me – ”Mixing my emotions, throws me back again” – Desperately Seeking Paul : Paul Weller Fan Podcast
My last special guest is the multi-award-winning director, writer and storyteller Sonja Phillips.
Back in 1995, with Paul Weller back at the top of the charts with the Stanley Road LP, Sonja directed two music videos that would go on to be amongst his most watched.
Whilst The Jam‘s Town Called Malice tops the list of ‘most watched’ on YouTube with 18 million views, and The Style Council have racked up just shy of 15 million for Shout to the Top, when it comes to Weller Solo – top of the pops are You Do Something To Me with over 13 million views and Broken Stones with nearly 5 million.
Two huge songs that live on in Paul’s live repertoire to this day and it would fair to call them ‘classics’ amongst his back catalogue of ‘classics’ to the point that he played both at 2021’s Barbican Concert with the recording being released as his next album. These are two songs that have without doubt formed special memories for so many of us fans.
But what about the music promo videos to go with those two songs? When? Where? What? Why? Who? How? Let’s get into it with the fabulous director behind You Do Something To Me and Broken Stones (and sort of Porcelain Gods but more on that in our conversation!) – Sonja Phillips.
After starting her career directing A-list music promo for the likes of Paul Weller, Black Box Recorder, Gabrielle and Bananarama to name just a few, in 1998 Sonja quickly made the move into broadcast, writing and directing a documentary about the Bosnian War (whilst also being awarded the Red Cross certificate in Bosnia for delivering aid to War Torn Hospitals). Snapped up by Discovery Channel, she won a cluster of awards for the multitude of short content she generated at the company, including U.S. festival awards for her film about Northern Lights. Headhunted for a move to Channel 4 in 2001, she continued and built on her success as a writer and director of documentary and imaginative visual pieces.
Her drama debut, The Knickerman (2005), won her the L.A. Short Film Festival, and led to the creation of Andsome Films, her own production platform. From here, she launched the Dmax channel, alongside her growing portfolio of idents, promos, and short films for varied commissioners. She produced eight short documentaries for Animal Planet about the bond between animals and humans.
Sonja repeated her success in L.A. with her second fiction short The Pond, also winning the Sapporo and Rhode Island International Film Festivals. 2012-13 she worked on the rebrand of ITV1, (including the writing and directing of 60 idents), and the launch of Lifetime Channel. Her commercial work includes an online for Tesco mobile, creating and directing the advertising campaign for Lara Bohinc, and most recently, a top-ten- listed global Christmas ad for Pandora Jewelry.
Sonja continues as a regular creative and director at the BBC, Channel 4 and The Discovery Channel.