Downloads: Press Release
Segment To Air On PBS NEWSHOUR The Week Of June 20th. Full Documentary To Air On PBS POV Tuesday, June 28th.
New York, NY–The Economist Film Project, which presents documentary films that reflect the types of hard-hitting issues The Economist is known for covering, announced today that the highly acclaimed documentary My Perestroika has been selected as the next film to be featured as part of the Project, in conjunction with PBS’ POV. Directed by Robin Hessman, My Perestroika is a historical epic that captures intimate stories from the last generation of children raised behind the Soviet Union’s Iron Curtain. An excerpt of the documentary, as well as an interview with Hessman, will air in a special segment on PBS NEWSHOUR the week of June 20th. The full documentary will air on Tuesday, June 28th on PBS’ POV (Point of View) series. (Check local listings.)
When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. My Perestroika 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 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.
“My Perestroika is political history as seen from the kitchen table,” said Gideon Lichfield, Editorial Director of The Economist Film Project. “It’s a wonderfully personal portrait of how one of the most momentous events in my lifetime, the collapse of the Soviet Union, changed the lives of ordinary people — and it’s particularly relevant now, 20 years afterwards.”
“Weaving together the personal stories of five individuals, and of Russia itself over the past 40 years, was quite a challenge,” said Robin Hessman, Director of My Perestroika. “My goal was to share the complexities of the protagonists’ experiences, perspectives, dreams, and disillusionment. The Economist Film Project will help raise awareness and understanding for those outside of Russia about what life was truly like for “ordinary” individuals both during that time, as well in today’s Moscow.”
Robin Hessman graduated from Brown University with a dual degree in Russian and Film. She obtained her graduate degree in film directing from the All-Russian State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) in Moscow. She received a Student 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, Hessman worked for the Children’s Television Workshop as the on-site producer of Ulitsa Sezam, the original Russian-language Sesame Street. She co-produced the Peabody-award winning documentary, Tupperware! and 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, which is her feature-length documentary directing debut. The critically-acclaimed film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the US Documentary Competition and went on to film festivals in over 20 countries, and showed in cinemas in over 50 cities across the US.
To date, The Economist Film Project has received over 1,000 film submissions. The films chosen for the Project are jointly curated by The Economist and PBS NEWSHOUR. Once a film is selected, a producer from PBS NEWSHOUR works with each director to create six- to eight-minute segments of the films, which then become the focus of special segments airing regularly on PBS NEWSHOUR through 2011. The segments are featured on both the NEWSHOUR and the Project websites ( Additional films selected by The Economist Film Project will be announced throughout the year.
Follow The Economist Film Project on Twitter, @EconomistFilm.
About The Economist
With a growing global circulation (worldwide: 1,473,939; North America: 833,667*) and a reputation for insightful analysis and opinion on every aspect of world events, The Economist is one of the most widely recognized and well-read current affairs publications. The paper has sections about each region of the world, plus science and technology, books and arts and the weekly obituary. The website (, with its 5.9 million unique readers, is also accessible through devices including the iPhone and iPad.
*Audit Bureau of Circulations, July-December 2010

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POV Pressroom
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.