An Interview with Filmmaker Jill Sixx Gevargizian [WiHM 2017]

Jill Sixx Gevargizian is a filmmaker and music video director from Kansas City with roots in hairstyling and one awesome eye for beautiful images on films.  Her newest project, a short for the Soska Sisters’ Massive Blood Drive PSA just dropped and she even stars in it.

Jill, please tell us a bit about what drives you to create films.
Simple as it sounds, creating is what makes me happy.  Each film is like a new journey.  I’ve realized it’s a great vice for someone addicted to that “new” feeling…. for people who like exploring.  And I do. Every project feels like a new adventure into the unknown.  And when it’s over there is an immense feeling of accomplishment.  It fuels me.

Why do you think you find yourself working in the horror genre?
Horror is so confrontational and offensive, I’ve always been drawn to that type of art.

As a horror filmmaker, what inspires you?
Real life.  Oh man, just watch the local news daily.  It’s a horrifying world.  I often read stories or see something and think, “THAT would be a great horror movie.”

What are some of your big influences and why do they resonate with you?
I really like films that show a different perspective of “bad people” like May, Maniac, Henry, Leatherface, or Karl in Slingblade- to name a few.  To me, those films show that these characters are tragic beings.  Much like the classic monsters- dammed to their existence.  When you understand who they are, how and why they feel – you’re no longer scared of them, but instead empathetic.  That’s very interesting to me and what I want to do with horror.  I want to bring tragedy back.

As a woman in a still male-dominated genre, what does the Women in Horror Month movement mean to you?
It means SO much to me.  I can barely begin to comprehend how many more eyes it has put on my work.  Thanks to the movement my films have screened countless times all over the world (Japan, Ireland, UK, Canada, US) and I’ve been interviewed by many awesome people- like you!

Who are other female horror filmmakers and writers you believe need more spotlight and why?
Melanie Light (The Herd).  Tanya Lemke (Static).  Victoria Angell (Summoned).  These ladies and their work I mentioned specifically is artful, intelligent, emotional, well-made and badass.

What would you say to a teen girl dreaming of making horror films, writing in the genre?
I’m still learning myself!  But they do say “write what you know” and I agree.  That’s what I did with The Stylist (I’ve been a hairstylist for 12 years) and it’s my most success work yet.  So, I say that’s good advice.  You know….What scares you?  What are you  knowledgeable about?  What do you have to say?  Just write, write, write.  Don’t wait for the idea to be perfect.  It won’t be until you get it out of your head!

On a more personal level, do you believe living in Kansas City has influenced your art? If so, in what way?
Yes, I do!  I’ve shot all my films here, on location.  I’ve never used a stage.  I’ve also lived here all my life.  I’m not exactly sure how it’s influenced my work specifically…but I’d say it’s impossible not to have!  Also, I can’t deny that I’ve benefited from the “big fish in a small pond” idea.  I’ve never had to pay to rent a location or equipment. People are excited to help.

What do you hope the public take away from your work?
I hope it makes them feel something…something they continue to think about after they watch.  I want to move people, one way or the other.  My worst nightmare is to make mindless entertainment.

Please tell us about your upcoming work, what you have coming for fans of your work that you can talk about.
I’m helping produce Brian Lonano’s new short B.F.F. Girls!  Brian’s latest short Gwilliam won a ton of awards and grossed out audiences worldwide.  I am so excited to be working with him.  B.F.F. Girls is about 3 dorky American teenage girls who magically transform into beautiful Japanese Superheroes and fight a tampon monster on their journey into womanhood!  For real- this thing is going to be hilarious, bloody, and adorable.  We are raising funds right now on IndieGoGo!  Please, help us out if you can.

Thank you Jill for this opportunity and for showing the horror world how beauty and horror mix perfectly.

Our review of Jill’s The Stylist.