Phil Nibbelink is an animator who started out working for Disney during the 1980s, as a character animator on The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
He later left Disney to work with Steven Spielberg, co-directing An American Tail: Fievel Goes West and We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story at Amblimation alongside Simon Wells, and working as an animation director on Casper.
After Amblimation closed down, Nibbelink started making independent flash-animated projects by himself, most notably Romeo & Juliet: Sealed with a Kiss.
Tropes found in his work
- Creator Cameo: Appeared as one of the guards in The Black Cauldron, and provided character voices in his independent projects.
- Doing It for the Art: Most obviously demonstrated with Sealed With a Kiss. One doesn't spend four years writing, directing, and animating a feature film singlehandedly for nothing.
- Lighter and Softer: Deliberately made Sealed With a Kiss to be more kid-friendly than the majority of other films at the time.
- Limited Animation: His early indie projects such as Puss in Boots and Leif Ericson were made using an early form of flash that involved scanning drawings into a computer and adding warping effects to give the illusion of movement, resulting in them being very awkward to look at. Thankfully, Sealed With a Kiss has a lot more fluidity to it due to using more advanced software.
- No Budget: None of his indie projects cost more than two million to make.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: Since his indie projects were done for a very low budget, they all use royalty-free stock soundtracks.
- What Could Have Been:
- He was originally going to be involved with Balto, but had to drop out due to finishing We're Back! and working on Casper. This could be the reason why Balto has a more dramatic and less cartoony feel to it than the other two Amblimation films which Phil co-directed.
- He was also going to co-direct Amblimation's cancelled adaptation of Cats, before Spielberg closed down the studio to help found Dreamworks Animation.