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Robin Hessman

Award-winning documentary filmmaker

Robin Hessman

Robin visited with students at Amherst in Summer 2011

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 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. My Perestroika has been broadcast on PBS on the independent series POV in their 2011 season and will also be broadcast in several other countries across the globe through 2012.

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.

For further information about Robin, please visit the website for My Perestroika.

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