What makes a country a country? What makes a state a state? A nation a nation? And what’s to stop you from starting your own?

In a globe-hopping search for an answer to these fundamental but little understood questions of sovereignty, How To Start Your Own Country visits six micronations – unrecognized self-declared sovereign entities that you will not find on a political map.

Meet Prince Leonard and Princess Shirley of the Hutt River Province Principality, the second –largest nation on the continent of Australia; Salute President Kevin Baugh, the absolute ruler of the Republic of Molossia, entirely surrounded by the state of Nevada; say “buon giorno” to good folk of Seborga, a 1200-year-old principality which claims to have been included in Italy by mistake.

Through the lives and experiences of these micronational pioneers – whether farmer, artist, pirate or inventor -- the film lays bare the ephemeral nature of statehood while interviews with diplomats and experts in international law expose a revelation: there is no legal definition of a country in international jurisprudence. You are a country if you say you are.

But declaration does not guarantee recognition.

Along the way we learn of the exclusionary membership terms of the United Nations, the ultimate country club. We realize that the maps that shape our self-image as citizens are mere representations, the boundaries they delineate relative. Wherever you look in the world – from the high seas to forsaken desert -- there is someone with a different idea of what constitutes home. And an urge to put themselves literally on the map.

From the outback soil of the Hutt River Principality to the futuristic ocean cities of The Seasteading Institute, these visionaries are challenging the status quo, setting their own course and creating nations that you will not find in an atlas… at least not yet.

How To Start Your Own Country explores a concept most of us take for granted: the countries we call home.


The Film