Adrienne Fox

Interview with Jill Sixx Gevargizian: The Horror Director Behind “Call Girl”

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Genre fans are the most dedicated fans. And the horror genre is no different, maybe even more intense. Jill Sixx Gevargizian is that fan turned filmmaker, and director of the new horror short film Call Girl starting Tristan Risk and Laurence R. Harvey and written by Eric Havens. The world premier of Call Girl is this weekend at HorrorHound Weekend in Cincinnati. If you are already attending, be sure to check out the screening schedule for Call Girl. If you are in the area and on the fence about going, Jill Sixx will be on hand at HorrorHound Weekend to answer questions and chat about her experiences behind the camera. That should sway you to make the trip!

Call Girl in a nutshell: In one man’s attempt to exploit his date night via video-chat, he ends up sharing something far more disturbing. Some people like to watch, do you? Check out the teaser trailer!

Jill Sixx took time from her busy pre-premiere schedule to answer a few questions via email for WatchPlayRead.

WPR: After so many years of being a horror fan, was there a specific moment, work, or creator that pushed you over the precipice of “fan” into creator?

I joined the horror “scene” a couple years ago.  I traveled to my first big horror convention, Texas Frightmare Weekend 2012 and that is where I met Laurence R. Harvey, my actor, and where I was inspired to start Slaughter Movie House, a screening series for indie horror.  The filmmakers I met through running Slaughter—their passion, attitude and work—that’s what gave me the push I needed to make my own film.

WPR: What was the best moment of directing your first short-film Call Girl?

The evening before our shoot, I was at the hotel with Tristan, Laurence and a few other friends and I was very nervous about the shoot. I managed to voice my concerns and Tristan said (paraphrasing here), “There is nothing to be nervous about. We are in this together. We are all here for the same reason; everyone wants to do their best.” That saved me. She “comforted me marvelous much.” [Ed.note: A perfectly suited Shakespeare quote from Romeo and Juliet!]

WPR: And then, what was the worst part or the best learning-on-the-job moment from Call Girl?

Being that this is my first project, everything was brand new and foreign to me. Thankfully, I had a slew of filmmakers to call upon for help. “What do I do next??!?!? HELP!” The most valuable thing I’ve learned is how important it is to have good chemistry with your cast and crew. When you find it, hang on to it, because it is not easy to come by. If I can’t openly discuss ideas, situations, or whatever with someone without getting defensive, it won’t work and ultimately will hurt the project.

WPR: The premiere of Call Girl is coming up this month. Are you nervous about unveiling your work? Is there a level of vulnerability you feel or is it elation that this is completed and ready for public viewing?

There are so many feelings surrounding this. I am so happy that it is complete—it has been a very challenging experience. I’m proud and anxious to show everyone what we’ve made. But it is also terrifying on so many levels. We were funded through an incredible Kickstarter campaign. Knowing people believed in me enough to donate money to my first film, that’s a lot of pressure.

Call Girl short film cast and crew

Brian Hicks (cinematography), Jill Sixx, Tristan Risk, Laurence Harvey, and Eric Havens (writer) of the short film Call Girl. Photo courtesy of Anna Perry.

WPR: Do you have another solo project in the works? If so, can you share bit about what it might be.

I do not.  I am currently writing and trying to nail down what I want to do next.
[Ed. note: We’d love to report on that once your next project gets rolling!]

WPR: What kind of reception have you had in the horror community on your new endeavor as a director?

The support has been incredible, so much that it’s intimidating.  There is a lot of self-induced pressure as result of the support.

WPR: Lots of commentary has been happening about women working in horror, specifically as creators and directors. Plus, Women in Horror Recognition Month is gaining exposure and picking up steam. There has also been Viscera Film Festival and Etheria Film Festival focusing on the contributions of women filmmakers. Can you tell me about what being a woman and being involved in horror as an actor/director/producer means for you and for the horror genre?

I have never thought of myself as having less opportunity. I want to create. I want to connect with people.  I want to see the world.  I don’t think of myself as a woman trying to make a film in a man’s world. Don’t get me wrong, I DO see that I’m the only female filmmaker screening at my first festival. Why is that? I don’t know.  But instead of complaining about it, I just want to make a difference and set a good example.

WPR: Tell me about your Slaughter Movie House project in Kansas City. Did you start that to raise the profile of horror? Is there a large horror community there already?

Slaughter Movie House is a monthly screening series for independent horror that I started in June 2012. I screen features and shorts from all over the world. This is what truly gave me the inspiration to make my own film. We have a great horror community in Kansas City. Beyond my monthly event- we have the KC Horror Club, Annual Zombie Walk for charity, Crypticon, Horror on the Boulevard, Panic Film Fest, DownRight Creepy and our favorite independent theater—Screenland Armour—hosts classic and new horror films as much as humanly possible. Just last week we hosted a double feature of The Human Centipede films at Screenland!

WPR: With The ABCs of Death 2, you were a second unit director. What was it like working under another director and their vision?

It was an honor. I can’t discuss any details yet, but the director I worked under gave me a lot of freedom!

WPR: You used Kickstarter to fund your movie. Can you tell me about your experience with crowd funding? Would you do it again for your next project?

It was thrilling and shocking. I could not believe the amount of support we received; it didn’t take much asking before we met our goal. The only somewhat negative thing I could say, which in turn was actually helpful, was the pressure it put on the project. And the anticipation people have for it makes me incredibly nervous, but how can I really complain about people wanting to see my movie?! I can’t. I have been asked a lot if I would do it again, and I think so. But I don’t want to wear out my welcome.

WPR: What are your top three favorite horror classics?

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Candyman, and The Bride of Frankenstein.

WPR: Can you name a few best kept secrets of modern horror? Any hidden gems you can share?

Indonesian filmmaker Timo Tjahjanto (although he’s barely a secret), his film Killers just premiered at Sundance.  He also made segments in V/H/S/2 and The ABCs of Death.

Mon Ami (2013) by Robert Grant was the most well received film I’ve screened at Slaughter Movie House.

Here Comes the Devil (2013) by Adrian Garcia Bogliano—this guy has made over 10 features!  Look into his past work, a few are streaming on Netflix.

WPR: Where can people find you in-person? Will you be making appearances or trips to cons and film fests?

Yes, I will be at conventions and film festivals! So far I have: HorrorHound Weekend Cincinnati (March 21-23), Days of the Dead Indianapolis (June 27-29), and Crypticon KC (August 15-17). Call Girl is screening at HorrorHound Cincinnati, Days of the Dead Indianapolis, and the Malta Horror Film Festival. There will hopefully be more, but that is what we have on the books now. If you’re in Kansas City, I’m at Slaughter Move House the first Monday of every month! I also host events regularly at Screenland Armour.

On the set of Call Girl with Jill Sixx and Laurence Harvey.

On the set of Call Girl with Jill Sixx and Laurence Harvey. Photo courtesy of Anna Perry.

Jill Sixx is a busy lady with a bright future in film. Catch her at one of her already scheduled appearances or her regular gigs if you are in Kansas City. Or find her on the web at her blog Jill Sixx Gevargizian: Filmmaker, Slaughter Movie House, Killer Hair, Traveler or on the Call Girl Facebook page.

 

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