In 1991, college freshman Robin Hessman traveled to what was then called Leningrad, to spend a semester abroad in a country that had fascinated her since childhood. She ended up living in Russia for the bulk of the 90s, eventually produced the country's version of Sesame Street. Her Sundance competition documentary My Perestroika chronicles not her own experience as an expat during the barely-post Cold War era, but the experience of five thirtysomething Russians who attended Soviet school together, and are now living very different lives in a post-Communist world for which they had no preparation.
The great hallmark of Hessman's film is its intimacy; her subjects, ranging from husband and wife school teachers to a punk-turned-subway busker to an international businessman, casually tell their own stories over vodka and home movies, with no top-down narration or intervention. I interviewed Hessman here at Sundance, and following the form of the film, below the jump she tells her own story of coming to make a film about the "Russian Pepsi generation."