Michael Beckelhimer has been a devoted Russophile since 1987, when he first visited the Soviet Union with a group of West Virginia high school students. The culture shock sent him on a trajectory that has led him to establish a documentary film production company focused on Russia and current events in the former Soviet Union.
Michael majored in Soviet Studies at American University in Washington, D.C. As the Soviet Union began to crumble in the early 1990s, Michael headed east. His first stop was Tallinn, the capital of the newly independent former Soviet republic of Estonia. He taught English and helped establish training programs at the Estonian Police Academy. On the side, he wrote freelance feature articles about post-Soviet life in the Baltic states.
After a year, Michael moved to Moscow, where he studied journalism on a Rotary Fellowship. He continued in his role as an astute observer of the fascinating world of post-Soviet Russia by writing articles for The Moscow Times.
He returned to the U.S. for graduate school, and obtained a Master’s degree in Russian from Harvard.
After several cold winters in Washington, the former Soviet Union, and Boston, Michael moved to California in the late 1990s.
Within the entertainment sphere, Michael has worked on various film and TV projects. He was an Associate Producer of the Russia episodes for the History Channel series “Cities of the Underworld” and worked as a consultant and Russian translator on “JFK: A President Betrayed,” a documentary about John F. Kennedy’s relationship with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev.