February is Women in Horror Month! As part of the Horror News Network spotlight on women this month we have talked to Jill “Sixx” Gevargizian about her experiences as a woman in the world of horror. Jill’s most recent horror short The Stylist starring Najarra Townsend (Contracted) won a slew of awards including the Jury Award and Audience Choice at the prestigious Etheria Film Night and Jill also nabbed best director of a short film at Requiem Fear Fest.
Larry Dwyer: Have you always been a fan of horror?
Jill “Sixx” Gevargizian: Yes! Even before I discovered horror films, I loved to do anything that scared me. Like exploring the woods or playing hide-and-seek at night. I loved the feeling.
Larry: What inspired you to become a creator of horror?
Jill: I have always loved films that challenged me, whether that means it’s scary, disturbing, or extremely sad. I like confrontational art and naturally that’s the type I want to create. I must admit that I love tragic stories even more than horror. I think that a film can be both, though. Most villains/monsters are very tragic, from the right perspective.
Larry: In a genre that has historically been a “boy’s club” (with the exception of legendary Debra Hill), to what do you attribute the surge in amazing women getting behind the camera for horror?
Jill: I think the recent surge is in large part due to Women in Horror Month! It’s been going for 8 years. I mean, wow! Hell, I was just thinking last week how much I’ve benefited from it personally. My films have screened countless times, I get interviewed by rad people like you – all thanks to WIHM. I can’t imagine how much it’s done for the industry. Hannah Neurotica, the founder of WIHM, should be so proud. It really has brought awareness. And I think has inspired women to take the leap.
Larry: While you’ve definitely been seen in front of the camera, I get the feeling that you prefer being behind it. Am I correct, and if so, why?
Jill: Yes, you are correct. As a director, I enjoy finding all the right people to collaborate with and seeing my vision come to life. I also really enjoy producing, which can be everything from being a sounding-board for the director, to logistics. I guess I enjoy being one of the masterminds of the project and being part of every step of the project from start to finish.
Larry: If you had unlimited time and budget, what would be your dream project?
Jill: This is a tough one! I guess if I had all the money, what I would do with that is go after dream actors I can’t afford- like Jake Gyllenhaal and Claire Danes.
Larry: Who do you look up to in filmmaking and why?
Jill: If we are talking newer directors, Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Arrival, Enemy, Sicario). His work is so emotional- which is the main thing I want from a film, other than style. I love David Fincher’s work for a million reasons, one of them being his use of color – Zodiac is my favorite. I am really inspired by indie genre filmmakers Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Adrian Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes the Devil), and Timo Tjahjanto (Killers). All three directors have an immense amount of style and emotion in their films.
Larry: What’s next for Jill Sixx? Are you working on anything you can discuss?
Jill: I’ve recently come on board to produce Brian Lonano’s new short film B.F.F. Girls! Lonano is known for his insanely nasty and hilarious films Gwilliam and CROW HAND. B.F.F. Girls is inspired by stuff like Sailor Moon and Power Rangers, and the Japanese film House. It’s about three dorky American girls who magically transform into beautiful Japanese Superheroes and fight a tampon monster as they begin their journey into womanhood. We are launching a crowdfunding campaign on February 21 and aiming to shoot this Spring.
Larry: Any advice you would like to give to women entering horror?
Jill: To lift other women up… I was inspired by Jovanka Vuckovic (XX) who has been very public about promoting that idea- that women need to hire each other, that’s how we can personally make a difference. Since, I made a pledge to myself to hire at least half-female crews.
Larry: Thank you so much for your time, Jill!
About WiHM: Women in Horror Month (WiHM) is an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. Visit WomeninHorrorMonth.com for more information.
Stay gory my friends.