Sustainable Cinema Series Continues
Sustainable Cinema, ChathamArts' 100-Mile Film Series, continues with "Rocaterrania," Greensboro filmmaker Brett Ingram's award-winning feature length documentary about the secret world created by prolific visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler, 76, a longtime illustrator at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences.
The film shows Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 7:30 p.m. at Fearrington Village Barn, off U.S. 15-501 in Chatham County, midway between Pittsboro and Chapel Hill. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students, at the door.
Over the past six decades Kuhler has painstakingly portrayed the inhabitants and cultural history of Rocatterania, an imaginary nation he first created to cope with his unbearable loneliness as an alienated teen living with German immigrant parents in remote Colorado.
None of Kohler's friends and museum colleagues knew of his secret obsession before Ingram began making this film.
Ingram met Kuhler in 1998 when the filmmaker was planning to highlight the illustrator's public work. Over the next decade, Kuhler allowed Ingram in on the artist's secret work.
"The technical brilliance of the illustrations and the emotional energy represented by the vast complexity of Rocaterranian history was awe inspiring," said Ingram. "That this little universe had remained undiscovered for so long astounded me even more."
Kuhler portrays Rocaterrania as a tiny nation of eastern European immigrants who purchased a tract of land along the Canadian border after growing restless with America's notions of "democracy.
The artist documents two revolutions and the rise and fall of a succession of czars, dictators, and presidents among a cast of characters vaguely mirroring Russian historical figures.
In decoding the "real" world through Kuhler's imaginary history, Ingram seeks to shine a light on the nature of conformity, the courage necessary to be one's true self, and the redemptive power of artistic creation.
Ingram's film features an original score by Merge Records recording artists Shark Quest (Sara Bell, Laird Dixon, Chris Eubank, Chuck Johnson, and Groves Willer), which won the "best original music in a documentary" award at the 2009 RiverRun International Film Festival in Winston Salem.
Ingram, who teaches filmmaking at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, has won 30 awards for his documentaries and animated films, which have been screened at more than 150 festivals, museums, and cinema venues internationally.
"Monster Road," his first documentary feature, won Best Documentary at five film festivals in 2004 and premiered on the Sundance Channel in 2005. Filmmaker Magazine named him one of "25 New Faces of Independent Film" in 2003. For details about Rocaterrania and Ingram's other works, visit www.brettingram.org.
ChathamArts Sustainable Cinema series features documentaries and narrative films involving producers, directors, subjects and/or locations within 100 miles of Pittsboro.
Admission proceeds benefit ChathamArts, the nonprofit arts council, and its arts and education programming, including a future youth documentary arts initiative.
Visit chathamarts.org or call (919) 542-0394. A question-and-answer session with the filmmaker follows the movie.
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