Film-making is a difficult career path to follow, not everyone makes it no matter how hard they fight. Once in a while, someone comes along with a real passion for the business and a fire that in inextinguishable, meet Jill Gevargizian aka Jill Sixx. She possesses an undeniable talent and a drive like no other. I was lucky enough to catch up with Jill to discuss her short film Call Girl and her upcoming film The Stylist.
Melissa Thomas: At what age did you decide that film-making was what you wanted to do?
Jill Sixx: To be honest, fairly recently. I made my first film, CALL GIRL, less than two years ago. But I have always been a huge movie fan, especially of horror. I made stuff with friends back in junior high with my grandpa’s camcorder. What I wouldn’t do to find those tapes! I’ve been a hairstylist for 10 years and started up a horror screening series, Slaughter Movie House, 3 years ago. Slaughter is truly what lead me to film-making.
MT: Your real name is Jill Gevargizian, so the Jill part is obvious, but where did the nickname “Jill Sixx” come from?
JS: I’ve loved the number 6 since I was really young. My birthday is February 6th, maybe that’s why? I can’t pinpoint the moment I decided this. I do remember choosing the number for my soccer jersey in 4th grade and the store clerk telling me that was an unlucky number. And that, of course, only made me want it more! I guess I’ve always been a rebel. As I grew up I learned the association with the devil and had an obsession with Nikki Sixx and Motley Crue. That time period was when I adopted this nickname and it’s stuck! My love affair with the “6” has grown stronger with time.
MT: There is an impressive list of titles you have held from hairstylist all the way to producer. Do you have a favorite job or are they all equally important to you?
JS: I enjoy them all, as they all allow me to be creative. They are also all equally important. But I would love to be directing more films, that’s just a matter of money. Film-making has got to be one of the most expensive art-forms. Damn it.
MT: The short film Call Girl was your directorial debut. What did you enjoy most about that experience?
JS: This is a hard question! The whole experience has been surreal. But the first thing that comes to mind is working with my dream cast. Only 4 years ago I was obsessing over the release of THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2. Say what you will about those films, but they are high art. The following year I attended my first big horror convention, Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012, where I met Laurence R. Harvey and we kept in contact after thanks to social media. The next year I visited him in LA while he was filming CENTIPEDE 3 and we attended the AMERICAN MARY premiere. That is where we met Tristan Risk and 4 months later they are both the stars of my very first film. If you told the girl who was reading about CENTIPEDE 2 and the Soska sisters 4 years ago that she’d make a film with these actors she’d say, “FUCK YOU.”
MT: As a female in a male dominated industry, do you feel that you have to work a bit harder to have your work taken seriously?
JS: I don’t think about it that way, I just think I need to work hard period. There are a million of me (filmmakers) and I feel I have to hustle to get recognized. I think I’m good at the hustle part.
MT: Who do you look up to the most?
JS: Another tough question! I am not a fan of picking favorites of anything. First person who comes to mind is Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil, Late Phases). I met him at a film festival in Palm Springs at a premiere of HERE COMES THE DEVIL and that film blew me away. It was one of my favorite of 2013. But more importantly I got to hear him speak about film-making and his passion is contagious. He said something that will never leave my mind… something like, “movies should be art, people are too concerned with making them look ‘real’.” Everyone was drawn to him, drooling over his wisdom. And get this- DEVIL was his 10th feature film! TEN FEATURES! He’s only 34!!!!!!!!!!!
MT: Do you have any plans of being in front of the camera again?
JS: I do not. I do it for fun but acting is not something I’m pursuing.
MT: What can you tell us about Slaughter Movie House?
JS: Slaughter is a monthly independent horror film screening series I started June 2012 here in Kansas City, Missouri and has been going strong ever since. We show shorts and features from all over the world. I run it with my co-host Scary Gary and a panel of judges. We try to make an event out of each screening whether it be with prizes or Q&A’s with the filmmakers. It has been a lot of fun and has connected me with filmmakers and fans everywhere. Like I said above, it is what inspired me to take the leap into film-making.
MT: What advice do you have for females that are trying to make a name for themselves whether it be behind or in front of the camera?
JS: I feel like advice should be gender-neutral. But if I had to say something to women specifically I’d say- do not feel the need to be “sexy” to promote your career, it can be done on talent alone. But on the same note, I’m not shaming any form of dress- be sexy if you want to, just don’t feel like you have to.
MT: Are there any upcoming projects that you would like to shamelessly plug?
JS: Of course! My new short, THE STYLIST, starring Najarra Townsend (CONTRACTED) is premiering at Etheria Film Night On June 11 in Los Angeles. It’s a psychological horror film about a hairstylist with unnerving desire to escape her disappointing reality.
Check out ABCS OF DEATH 2 and make sure not to miss the secret scene after the credits. I directed that scene and it's actually part of the Soska sisters segment. It’s out on Netflix, Amazon, Bluray/DVD, etc.
Also, I was the assistant director on James Bickert’s FRANKENSTEIN CREATED BIKERS- which stars the cast of CALL GIRL. It was shot on 35 MM and made its premiere last month at the Atlanta Film Festival.
JS: Thank you so much for the interview!
MT: Thank you for your time Jill, it has been a privilege to talk with you. You have done a phenomenal job thus far, and I look forward to seeing more from you.
*All photos from the set of The Stylist provided by Ryan Housknecht*