Attended NYU Film School but dropped out before graduation to promote his first documentary Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies (1993).
Has cast Matt Walsh in all of his movies.
Frequently uses the music of Bill Withers and Wolfmother in his movies.
A co-creator of the New York Underground Film Festival (along with Andrew Gurland), Phillips was an expert at playing the media and causing sensation. He made a name for himself with Hated: GG Allin & the Murder Junkies (1993) and latched on to the controversy surrounding the documentary ChickenHawk (1994).
Originally meant to direct Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006); however, he quit the production after shooting the infamous rodeo/"Star Spangled Banner" scene, due to creative differences with Sacha Baron Cohen.