"My Perestroika" follows five ordinary Russians living in
extraordinary times – from their sheltered Soviet childhood, to the
collapse of the Soviet Union during their teenage years, to the
constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia. The film
interweaves their contemporary world with rare home movie footage from
the 1970s and ‘80s in the USSR, along with official Soviet propaganda
films that surrounded them at the time. Their memories and opinions
sometimes complement each other and sometimes contradict each other, but
together they paint a complex picture of the challenges, dreams, and
disillusionment of this generation in Moscow today.
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. Awards include a 2012 Peabody Award,
the Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award at the Full Frame
Festival in April 2010, Special Jury Award at Silverdocs in June 2010,
and special Jury Award at Pravo Ljudski in Sarajevo. "My Perestroika"
was released theatrically in the US in 2011 and played in over 45
cities. It has been rated one of the top films of the year by leading
critics, including the New York Times.
Robin is also an Associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for
Russian Studies and is a 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.
Robin Hessman will present her documentary "My Perestroika" on
Thursday, February 21, at 6:30 p.m. in Fahy Hall 236 on Seton Hall
University campus. The screening will be followed by Q&A.
The event is sponsored by the Russian and East European Studies Program and the Slavic Club.
For more information please contact: