Just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, The Children’s Television Workshop asked Lance Rogoff, a young Jewish American TV producer, to create a local version of Sesame Street for Russia. No one realized how challenging and dangerous it would be. She faced heated and surprising arguments with Russian producers, educators and artists over culturally appropriate values, characters and scripting—amid bombings, assassinations and an armed takeover of the TV station. But the creativity, courage and heart of the Russian team made “Ulitza Sezam” a lasting hit with millions of children across the former USSR.
Natasha Lance Rogoff is an award-winning filmmaker, producer, journalist, and author. She writes extensively about Russian underground culture and teaches film at Harvard.