Tracking Classmates from Soviet

Childhoods to Putin’s Russia


MY PERESTROIKA gives you a privileged sense of learning the history of a place not from a book but from the people who lived it… Astoundingly timely.”—    Stephen Holden, New York Times – A New York Times Critics’ Pick


April 30, 2012New York, New York – When the USSR broke apart in 1991, a generation of young people faced a new realm of possibilities. An intimate portrait of the last Soviet generation, MY PERESTROIKA tells the story of five former schoolmates in Moscow, now turning 40, who were brought up behind the Iron Curtain. The film provides vivid accounts of their sheltered Soviet childhood, through the collapse of the USSR during their teenage years, to the constantly shifting political landscape of post-Soviet Russia.

Director Robin Hessman’s award-winning documentary weaves together Soviet propaganda films from the 1970s and 1980s – showing enthusiastic children aspiring to be upstanding Soviet citizens – with candid first-person testimony and verité camerawork to illustrate just how life in Russia has evolved from its Communist past to present-day under Vladimir Putin. Hessman, who spent many years living in Moscow, reveals a contemporary Russia rarely seen on film, where people are frank about their lives and forthcoming about their country.

MY PERESTROIKA is extraordinarily timely – it is cited as providing possible clues to what awaits countries experiencing the growing pains of Arab Spring. And the film sheds light on the current political situation in Russia, where masses recently took to the street to protest against the continuing rule of Vladimir Putin – a kind of public action not seen in over 20 years.

Ultimately, MY PERESTROIKA is a nuanced account of tumultuous times as experienced by a generation coming of age just as their country underwent traumatic social and political change.

“They are a key transition generation, the last generation to have completely Soviet childhoods and then be thrust into adulthood, graduating from college the very year their country collapsed,” said Hessman.

At the heart of the film are the personal stories of the five individuals:

— Borya and Lyuba Myerson are married and both teach history at Moscow’s School #57. They had very different Soviet childhoods. Lyuba was a conformist who would salute the TV when the Soviet anthem played while Borya preferred to subvert the system whenever possible.
— Andrei is a businessman who sells expensive men’s shirts and ties from France. He has recently opened his 17th retail store. While living in the USSR, owning his own business would’ve been unimaginable.
— Olga, the prettiest girl in their class, is now a single mother who works for a company that rents out billiard tables.
— Ruslan is a musician and free spirit who tries to stay outside of society’s constraints. Formerly in a famous Russian punk rock band, he now busks with a banjo in the Moscow metro.

Engaging, funny, and positively inspiring, in MY PERESTROIKA, politics is personal, honesty overshadows ideology, and history progresses one day, one life at a time.

MY PERESTROIKA releases on standard digital platforms and DVD on May 15, following its 2010 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and a critically acclaimed national theatrical release in 2011. The film was featured in the 2010 Film Society of Lincoln Center’s and MoMA’s New Directors/New Films and was broadcast nationwide on PBS’s P.O.V. series, for which it won a 2012 Peabody Award. Film festival awards include the Special Jury Award at the Silverdocs Film Festival, the Filmmaker Award at Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and Grand Prix at the La Rochelle International Film Festival.

MY PERESTROIKA is directed by Robin Hessman; produced by Robin Hessman, Rachel Wexler; cinematography by Robin Hessman; edited by Alla Kovgan and Garret Savage. The DVD includes over an hour of deleted scenes and interviews. MY PERESTROIKA is a Red Square Productions film in co-production with Bungalow Town Productions and ITVS International in association with American Documentary | POV and YLE.

Pricing:                                $29.95 US
Runtime:                             87 mins. + extras
Rating:                                 NR
Catalog #:                           NNVG 269191
Language:                          Russian with English Subtitles
Color:                                   Color
Audio Format:                 Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
Genre:                                  Documentary

About Docurama Films
In 1999, NEW VIDEO launched Docurama Films® with the first feature documentary ever available on DVD: D.A. Pennebaker’s Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back. Twelve years and 300 award-winning, highly-acclaimed titles later, Docurama continues to discover and release the greatest non-fiction films of our time while spreading the word about filmmakers who are taking the form to new heights.  Docurama’s catalog features the performing and visual arts, history, politics, the environment, ethnic and gender interests, and all-time favorites including The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, Andy Goldsworthy: Rivers and Tides and King Corn. Recent titles include the 2011 Oscar®-nominated film, Gasland, and the 2012 Oscar®-nominated films, Hell and Back Again and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

About New Video
New Video is a leading entertainment distributor and the largest aggregator of independent digital content worldwide. Headquartered in New York City, with an international presence in 45 territories, the company delivers feature films, TV programs and web originals via digital download, streaming, video-on-demand, Blu-ray, DVD, and theatrical release. In 2011, New Video bowed Oscar®-nominated Hell and Back Again and South American blockbuster Elite Squad: The Enemy Within in US theaters. Through a new partnership with digital exhibitor Cinedigm Entertainment Group, New Video is poised to bring more independent films to theaters nationwide. New Video streamlines distribution and marketing for filmmakers and partners, bringing a wide variety of fresh content to new audiences. The company’s library includes original TV series and movies from A+E® Home Entertainment, HISTORY™, and Lifetime®, unforgettable games and trophy sets from Major League Baseball®, storybook treasures from Scholastic®, award-winning documentaries from Docurama Films®, next-gen indies from Flatiron Film Company®, and acclaimed independent films and festival picks through partnerships with the Sundance Institute and Tribeca Film. New Video is proud to distribute many Oscar®-nominated documentaries including Gasland, Waste Land, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory and Hell and Back Again.

For more information, please contact:
Luis Garza; 646-259-4144;

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