Production Team

Robin Hessman – Director / Producer / Cinematographer

Red Square Productions

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 a 2012 Peabody Award, 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, including the New York Times. My Perestroika was broadcast on PBS on the independent series POV in their 2011 season, and was broadcast in several other countries across the globe in 2011 and 2012.

Robin is also an Associate of Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian Studies and is a 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.

Rachel Wexler – Producer

Rachel Wexler runs Bungalow Town Productions in the UK with her partner, director/producer Jez Lewis. She specializes in producing international feature documentaries for a worldwide audience. She has worked with many award-winning filmmakers including Geoffrey Smith (The English Surgeon), Marc Isaacs (All White in Barking, Men of the City), and Oliver Hodge (Garbage Warrior). She has produced films with support from broadcasters and funders around the world including ITVS, BBC Storyville, Sundance Institute, Ford Foundation, More4 True Stories, Sundance Channel, DRTV, YLE, NRK, and the UK Film Council. Films that Rachel has produced have been screened at many of the world’s leading festivals, among them Sundance, Edinburgh, London, Karlovy Vary, Hotdocs, Silverdocs, and Vancouver.

Alla Kovgan – Editor

Born in Moscow, Alla Kovgan is a Boston-based filmmaker. Films that she directed and codirected have been presented at festivals worldwide, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival, and numerous others. She edited and co-directed the documentary feature Traces of the Trade which premiered at Sundance 2008 and opened the 20th season of POV on PBS. In 2009, together with David Hinton, she directed the award-winning short film Nora, based on the life of Zimbabwean-born dancer Nora Chipaumire. Since 1999, Alla has been involved with interdisciplinary collaborations – creating intermedia performances (with KINODANCE Company), dance films (with Alissa Cardone, Victoria Marks and Nicola Hawkins), and documentaries about dance such as Movement (R)evolution Africa (with Joan Frosch). Since 2000, she has taught and curated dance film/avant-garde cinema worldwide and also acts as a curator of the St. Petersburg Dance Film Festival KINODANCE (Russia) and as a co-curator of the Balagan Film Series (Boston).

Garret Savage – Editor

Garret Savage’s work spans a variety of formats including documentaries, fiction features, film trailers, short films, and television commercials. His documentary editing credits include Paper or Plastic? (retitled Ready, Set, Bag!; Los Angeles Film Festival 2008), Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern’s End of America, and an episode of the forthcoming HBO documentary series My American Dream. Other editing credits include the fiction feature Olympia (Slamdance, Sundance Channel) as well as projects for a variety of networks and studios including Paramount Pictures, ABC/ESPN, Discovery, WE, MTV, and the Style Network. He has directed and edited numerous award-winning shorts and in 2005 he was profiled as one of The Independent magazine’s “Top Short Filmmakers.” His rural documentary, 4-Cylinder 400, continues to be broadcast on the Independent Film Channel. As an educator, he was the Program Director of the Nantucket Film Festival’s Teen View Film Lab and a mentor with the Reel Works Teen Filmmaking Program in Brooklyn.