Haunt heads! Meet the talented Jill Sixx Gevargizian! She is a Kansas City native who not only directs but also runs her own monthly film showcase! Jill has won multiple awards for her shorts "Call Girl", "The Stylist", and is now working on "BFF GIRLS". Besides directing, Jill is a full-time hair stylist.
Could you tell our followers where you’re from and how you began directing?
I’m from Kansas City, Missouri and still live here! Directing kind of fell into my lap. My friend and writer Eric Havens had this script titled Date Night. He was planning on directing it and asked for my help to produce. A short while later, Eric decided directing wasn’t for him. I was disappointed because I really had my hopes up to make this film and so I just asked I could try! I had no idea what I was doing. We renamed the film Call Girl and the rest is history.
You also run the Slaughter Movie House in Kansas City, tell us about that.
It’s a monthly screening series for independent genre films that I start in June of 2012. We host a screening the first Monday of every month. We show shorts, features, all kinds of stuff from horrror to exploitation. It is what also lead me to make my own films. I was very inspired by the filmmakers whose work I was showing. We are coming up on our 5 year anniversary.
Your awesome short films are great(cough feature-length Luhrmanns cough) and have really been generating buzz, the latest being the Etheria Film Night award winner “The Stylist”. What gave you the idea for this and how much did you draw from your hairstylist background?
Years ago it dawned on me that there wasn’t an iconic hairstylist killer in horror and I wondered why - you know, something along the lines of stuff like Dr. Giggles. Of course, I decided to go a more serious, psychological route with my film. And yes I drew a lot from my background, I realized I could make this film in a way only a hairstylist could. And that would hopefully make it special. I’m actually still a hairstylist, too!
Is horror you favorite genre? Why/why not?
It’s one of my favorites. Tragedies might be my number one, though. I’ve always loved the feeling of being scared. It’s a rush. I chased that feeling as a child. I also love that the genre because it is so confrontational.
You are part of a surge of truly talented women directors, and are in great company with the Soskas, Hannah Neurotica, Gigi Guerrero, to what do you attribute this wave of strong female talent?
Thank you very much. But I don’t think the talent is anything new, I just think everyone are finally recognizing it. And that is in large part thanks to Hannah Neurotica founding Women in Horror Month.
Who are your influences?
Ana Lily Amipour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Kim Jee-woon (I Saw the Devil), Timo Tjahjanto (Killers, Headshot), Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil), David Fincher (Seven, Zodiac), Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet), Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners), Jake Gyllenhaal, Claire Danes, Marilyn Manson, Roy Orbison...to name a few.
Next up you have B.F.F. Girls, which has a crowdfunding campaign! What should our followers know and how can they get involved?
BFF Girls is a wacky, female-centric, comedy-horror, that is inspired by stuff like Sailor Moon and Power Rangers. I am so excited to be helping produce the short. It is directed by Brian Lonano, who is known for his crazy work like Gwilliam and Crow Hand, and was co-written by Lonano and Victoria Cook. Our campaign is running until March 24th! There’s a few days left to help out. But either way, you all should go follow the film on twitter and facebook for updates. We plan to unleash the film on the festival circuit next year.
Please check out the link below to support her next project:-)
Finally, I ask these of all of my guests:
Do you go to haunted attractions? If so do you have a fav?
Hell yes!! I love them. We have some really well done haunted houses here in Kansas City. And truly, they are haunted warehouses. They are huge! Some take over an hour to get through. I’ve been going since I was 11! As for my favorite.. I’ll have to go with The Edge of Hell. The special effects makeup artist I’ve worked with on most of my films, Colleen May (The Stylist, Call Girl, Grammy), works at the haunted houses too!
What do you look for in a haunt?
I’m, maybe surprisingly, a huge baby in those things… it doesn’t take much to scare me.
If not, do you have any Halloween traditions?
I’m not sure I do. I do make sure to set up the house real creepy for the trick or treaters. I remember loving the houses that really went all out for Halloween when I was a kid. The houses that were almost too scary. I want to be able to create that for kids now. I think I did good because last year some kids were too scared to walk up to my door!
What advice would you give to an aspiring director?
To just go for it! If you wait until you think you’re ready, you may never do it.. that kind of goes for everything in life. But really, it takes a leader to direct and it can be scary but it’s so worth it. It’s important to take it one step at a time, the big picture can be very intimidating - that also goes for most things in life!
A few "behind the scenes" goodies!