Robin received an Academy Award® in 1994 – with co-director James Longley – for their student film, Portrait of Boy with Dog. During her many 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 a 2005 Peabody Award. Robin also co-produced the PBS biography of Julia Child, Julia! America’s Favorite Chef. In 2004, she founded Red Square Productions and became Filmmaker in Residence at Boston’s PBS affiliate, WGBH, where she developed My Perestroika.
In addition to her film and TV work, Robin has appeared on the PBS NewsHour, written for The Financial Times and produced radio pieces on Russia for the BBC’s The World. She served as the Director of Documentary Programming for the American Film Festival of Moscow for 5 years. She has been a Copeland Fellow at Amherst College, a Fellow at the PBS/CPB Producer’s Academy, a Sundance Documentary Institute Fellow, and a MacDowell Colony Fellow. Robin is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an Associate at Harvard University's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. She frequently speaks at universities, colleges, and secondary schools on many topics including My Perestroika, Russian politics and history, the Cold War, Soviet cinema, documentary filmmaking, Sesame Street in Russia.
Films by Robin Hessman
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. Together, these childhood classmates paint a complex picture of the dreams and disillusionment of those raised behind the Iron Curtain.