Meet Co-Director Russell Sheaffer: it's so easy (the mechanism of power)

Complete this sentence: "If you liked ____________ or ____________, you'll like my film."
If you like abstract expressionism and works that force you to strange new places, you'll like my films.

If forced to choose a different role in making this film, what would it have been and why?
The works at the festival this year are deeply collaborative. Aaron (my collaborator on "On Surgery" and "it's so easy (the mechanism of power)" ) and I were working side-by-side on these -- I suppose we could switch roles; I'm always amazed by the tech know-how of what he does.

If you were an X-Men, which would you be and why?
Maybe Wolverine minus the violence...? We both have metal in our bodies, there may be some deep inner connection there.

What were you doing in 1976?
Lying dormant in halves.

Name three films you consider under-appreciated and explain their hidden genius.
I'm not sure that these are under-appreciated, but these three are definitely on my mind right now. Gregg Araki's "Totally F***ed Up" (1993) was a really important film for me. It does such interesting things with personal narrative, the structure of generic documentary, and medium. I find Ed Wood's "Glen or Glenda?" (1953) genuinely pleasurable (and not in a comedic way) -- the film works so hard to find a way to articulate desire in a way that I find deeply affecting. I also absolutely adore Kenneth Anger's "Kustom Kar Kommandos" (1965). It does such a brilliant job of taking objects and bodies we're familiar with and fetishizing them in new, critical ways. All three are problematic in their own ways, but are so devoted to what they're doing and I really admire that.

You're building a grilled cheese with three different cheeses. What do you use?
All of the cheese! Blue cheese, gouda, and swiss with sliced shallot is a solid combination.

Of the filmmakers working today, whose talent would you most like to steal?
If I could somehow channel Gus Van Sant circa "Elephant," I'd be a very happy camper. His ability to make a huge variety of work while supporting the work of others (Cam Archer's "Wild Tigers I Have Known" is incredible) is really marvelous.

What's the most challenging part of making a film for you? Do you enjoy that challenge, or is it something to be avoided?
Especially when working in experimental forms, we have the chance to re-write the rules of media making -- and that's so exciting but can also be a challenge. When conceptualizing a work, I think it's really important to allow room for equal parts strict theoretical prep and play in the moment and -- often -- that's so much easier said than done.

If familiar with the area, what's your favorite place in Atlanta? If visiting, what about Atlanta are you most excited to see?
I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the city this time around. If you have a favorite vegetarian restaurant, tackle me in person and tell me, please!

Why did you submit your film to the Atlanta Film Festival?
I love the Atlanta Film Festival! ATLFF has been an incredible advocate for my work these last two years. So much of what these kinds of films are about are visceral experiences that lead to conversations; last year, Atlanta proved to have some of the most engaged audience members for experimental media that I've seen. Y'all are fantastic.

Along with Aaron Michael Smith, Russell Sheaffer co-directed "On Surgery" of the Copper block and it's so easy (the mechanism of power), a ten-day multimedia installation. Follow #ATLFFsoeasy for updates on opening and closing receptions and live percussion performances by Sean Gill.