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. Using a wealth of footage rarely seen in the West – including home movies from the USSR in the 1970s – the film combines an intimate view of the past with the contemporary lives of these former schoolmates, painting a complex picture of the dreams and disillusionment of those raised behind the Iron Curtain.
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 award-winning PBS films includingTupperware! and Julia! America’s Favorite Chef. Her feature-length documentary directing debut, My Perestroika, premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as part of the US Documentary competition.