When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. An intimate epic about the extraordinary lives of this last Soviet generation, Robin Hessman’s feature documentary debut tells the stories of five Moscow schoolmates who were brought up behind the Iron Curtain, witnessed the joy and confusion of glasnost, and reached adulthood right as the world changed around them. Through candid first- person testimony, revealing verité footage, and vintage home movies, Hessman, who spent many years living in Moscow, reveals a Russia rarely ever seen on film, where people are frank about their lives and forthcoming about their country. Engaging, funny, and positively inspiring, in MY PERESTROIKA politics is personal, honesty overshadows ideology, and history progresses one day, one life at a time.
Robin Hessman – Director / Producer / Cinematographer Red Square Productions
Robin Hessman graduated from Brown University with a dual degree in Russian and Film. She received her graduate degree in film directing from the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in Moscow (with a “red diploma” of honors). She received an Academy Award® in 1994 – with co-director James Longley – for their student film, Portrait of Boy with Dog. During her eight years living in Russia, Robin worked for the Children’s Television Workshop as the on-site producer of Ulitsa Sezam, the original Russian-language Sesame Street.
In the US, Robin co-produced the documentary Tupperware!, which received the Peabody Award in 2005. Robin also co-produced the PBS biography of Julia Child, Julia! America’s Favorite Chef. In 2004, she founded Red Square Productions and was granted the position of Filmmaker in Residence at Boston’s PBS affiliate, WGBH, to develop My Perestroika. The project received the Garrett Scott Documentary Development Grant at the Full Frame Festival for a work-in-progress. In 2008 Robin was a MacDowell Colony Fellow.
Her feature-length documentary directing debut, My Perestroika, premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as part of the US Documentary competition and was screened in New York as part of the prestigious film series, New Directors/New Films, curated by MoMA and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. It won the Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award at the Full Frame Festival in April 2010, a Special Jury Award at Silverdocs, Best Documentary at the Milwaukee Film Festival, and a Special Jury Award at Provo Ljudski in Sarajevo. My Perestroika was nominated for a 2011 History Makers Award. As of Feb 2011, it has been invited to over 30 international film festivals.
Robin is also an Associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian Studies and is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Since 2006, Robin has served as the Director of documentary programming for Amfest, the American Film Festival in Moscow.
Official Selection - Sundance Film Festival, 2010
US Documentary Competition WINNER - Filmmaker Award
Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2010 WINNER - Special Jury Award
Silverdocs Film Festival 2010 WINNER- Best Documentary Film
Milwaukee Film Festival 2010 Official Selection
International Film Festival Rotterdam 2011 Official Selection
New Directors/New Films 2010 Official Selection
Hot Docs, Toronto 2010 Official Selection
Sheffield Doc/Fest 2010 Official Selection
Doha Tribeca Film Festival, 2010