From her first horror short CALL GIRL, to POLICE BRUTALITY and indie Kickstarter short THE STYLIST, Jill Sixx Gevargizian is killing it in horror and has become one of the front running faces of female horror directors. So I was excited to have the opportunity to catch up with horror director Gevargizian. We had a chance to discuss her new horror film short, GRAMMY, which will be debuting at Spooky Empire in Orlando this year, as well as giving us an update on THE STYLIST and she also lets us in on how much really goes into bringing a horror short to the screen. So, sit back, relax and enjoy the horror goodness of Jill Sixx Gevargizian.
EvilQueenB: Congrats on the success of all of your short films! How do you balance the cons, screenings, filming and being a hairstylist?
Jill Sixx Gevargizian: Thank you! I’m not sure how I balance it honestly. I do hair full-time and spend almost all my free-time on filmmaking stuff. That is my only means for making a living–movies only cost me money! Every part of filmmaking costs–making it, submitting it to festivals, traveling to those festivals. It’s a never-ending money sucker.
Evil: THE STYLIST, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter is being completed, can you tell us about that and when we will be seeing it?
Jill: To be frank, our Kickstarter only funded 1/3 of that project. Another third came from a private investor and the rest from myself. I produced the film with director of photography Robert Patrick Stern and production designer Sarah Sharp. Thanks to their talent and experience I think we created something really special. We will soon start submitting to film festivals and hope to premiere somewhere exciting in the Spring. Najarra Townsend (CONTRACTED) stars in the film as Claire; a hairstylist obsessed with the notion of perfection. She was a true pleasure to work with and her performance brought this character to life in way I could have only dreamed. THE STYLIST is a very emotional film, which is a first for me. I have never felt so connected to something I’ve made and I want to continue to feel that way about my work.
Evil: How much pre-production goes into bringing a short film to the screen?
Jill: I, personally, spend a s**t load of time in pre-production. Everyone is different. On THE STYLIST I spent 4-5 months on prepro and I think it shows. The less you prepare, the sloppier the final product is. Prepping is my thing and most important in filmmaking- or anything really! It also depends on the project–THE STYLIST I knew was the film I wanted to change the game for me, so I hired an all-pro crew and spent a lot of time preparing with them. That film is 15 minutes long. And to give you an idea how long the entire process takes–we shot it in February and we’re just now doing the final assembly. That 8 months of post-production! It’s taken me over a year to complete THE STYLIST. It takes a lot of focus and passion to finish a film. It’s full of up and downs, but you just have to keep going. In comparison, GRAMMY is only 2 minutes long and it took only 2.5 months to complete from beginning to end.
Evil: Now that you have tackled short films will a full length horror film be in your future?
Jill: People ask this so often–it’s a matter of opportunity and money. I would LOVE to make a feature-length! It takes so much money just to make a short and it’s very hard to find the money. I just can’t see how one would find enough to make a feature, without a big company behind them forking out the money. One day, I hope!
Evil: Tell us about your newest short film, GRAMMY which will be screened at Spooky Empire.
Jill: GRAMMY is a micro short that I made for Crypt TV–which is a online distributor of horror content owned by Eli Roth. It should premiere on their platforms later this year. So, I thought I’d try to get it into a few festivals prior. I wrote GRAMMY with my good friend Jill Towerman and it was inspired by the pressure society places on women to wear makeup. The short itself is fun and bit silly. I can’t say too much without spoiling the film. It’s about a little girl (Hala Finley) who wakes up from an overnight at grandma’s house to discover there’s more to Grammy (Marilyn Hall) than meets the eye. I doubt people will pick up on my political subtext, but it’s there! HA!
Evil: So far, what has been one of your best moments working in the horror genre?
Jill: I’d have to say it was seeing my first film, CALL GIRL, adapted into a comic by Japanese artist Daiju Kurabayashi and producer Hiro Fujii. Not only is the the most flattering thing that can happen as an artist–to inspire more art–but it’s better than my film! And anyone can download it for free–in English or Japanese–here: http://callgirlcomic.curse.jp/
Evil: What’s your next project?
Jill: I do not have another project slated as of now. I will be focusing on submitting THE STYLIST to festivals all over the world and writing. Next year I plan to travel a lot with THE STYLIST. I think that is an important to enjoy all the work you put in. I also find that my work has a much bigger effect on people if I am at the screenings. Rather than just finishing a film, putting it out and moving onto a new project. It shows a whole other level of dedication. But I hope to be working on something new soon and am open to any possibilities! I would really love to work with Robert Patrick Stern and Sarah Sharp again.