Rocaterrania is a feature length documentary exploring the secret world of scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler. This screening is presented by Phantasmaphile.
In the last four decades, seventy-six-year-old Renaldo Kuhler has created hundreds of plates for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, illustrating diverse flora and fauna for obscure scientific journals and reference books. Before the making of this documentary, no one knew that Kuhler is also a prolific visionary artist – and the creator of an entire imaginary world called Rocaterrania.
Rocaterrania is a tiny nation of eastern European immigrants who purchased a tract of land along the Canadian border – just north of the Adirondack Mountains in
New York – after growing restless with America’s notions of “democracy.” Over the next six decades, Rocaterrania saw two revolutions and the rise and fall of a succession of czars, dictators, and presidents among a cast of characters vaguely resembling Russian historical figures. But, as the film reveals, each change in government reflects a deeper meaning for Renaldo, an outsider who struggled to escape an emotionally abusive family and searched for freedom within a real nation threatened by forces of conformity.
Rocaterrania unveils Kuhler’s astounding body of work to the world and reveals the powerful story of his life in the process. Among other themes, the film is about the insidious nature of conformity, the courage to be one’s true self, and the redemptive power of artistic creation. Featuring an eclectic original score by Merge Records recording artists Shark Quest.