Robin Hessman’s documentary, My Perestroika, about coming of age in the waning years of the Soviet Union, is making the film festival circuit. The film makes extensive use of home movies from the 1970s and 1980s. Hessman discussed the home movies in her interview with the CBC.
Q: How did you gather the home movies?
A: I was gathering through friends of friends. Someone would pass through a friend of a friend in the Metro a bag of films. Or someone would send them through their relatives off in Siberia in a train. I was asking anybody I knew. When I met Borya and Liuba Mayerson for the first time, after about two hours of conversation, I asked about the home movies, and Borya opened the closet and there they were. That was an incredible gift.
[His father] was an engineer. He was a fan [of making amateur movies]. He would develop them in the bathroom. He didn’t just film his own son. He would film all the kids on Communist cleanup day: the kids raking and cleaning the schoolroom and the assemblies.