Renaldo Kuhler is the only son of Otto Kuhler, a German immigrant who served under Kaiser Wilhelm in World War I before emigrating to America with seven dollars in his pocket. Renaldo grew up in the immense shadow of his father - who became a famous American industrial designer and an acclaimed landscape painter - and struggled for his own identity as an artist. Like many Germans, Otto Kuhler romanticized the American West and the freedom it symbolized.
When Otto fulfilled a lifelong dream by moving his family from upstate New York to a remote Colorado cattle ranch in 1948, teenaged Renaldo found the isolation unbearable and escaped to the private fantasy world of his notebooks. What began as the illustrated history of an imaginary country called “Rocaterrania” became Renaldo's lifelong obsession – secretly illustrating the coded story of his own life in plain spiral bound notebooks.
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.
Celebrating the Revolution