British-Estonian movie “Firebird”, a debut feature by Estonian director Peeter Rebane, will premiere at the BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival in March.
“Firebird” tells a love story set at the height of the Cold War, where a troubled soldier (Tom Prior) forms a forbidden love triangle with a daring fighter pilot (Oleg Zagorodnii) and his female comrade (Diana Pozharskaya) amid the dangerous surroundings of an air base in the Soviet-occupied Estonia.
“What begins as a friendship across the ranks soon transforms into something riskier in feature debut director Peeter Rebane’s lavishly orchestrated and beautifully realised account of love’s flourishing against all odds, based on a true story,” the film festival said in a statement.
The script was co-written by Rebane and the film’s lead actor Tom Prior, whose previous acting work includes “The Theory of Everything”. The script was inspired by Russian actor Sergey Fetisov’s memoir, “The Story of Roman”. The film was produced by Brigita Rozenbrika, Rebane and Prior, with Michael Edelstein as an executive producer.
A touching and personal film
“We are grateful and humbled to have our world premiere at BFI Flare,” Rebane said in a statement. “Firebird is a touching and personal film for me, having grown up in Soviet occupied Estonia, near the air force base where this true story took place. I was deeply fascinated at how such a forbidden love triangle formed in the Soviet air force at the height of the Cold War. How they risked everything, even their lives, in order to be together with the one you love”.
Rebane started his career in Estonia as a showbiz entrepreneur, after studies at Oxford and Harvard universities (he was one of the first modern-day Estonians to graduate from the latter). He later studied directing and film production at the University of Southern California, School of Cinematic Arts and received further training at Judith Weston Studio For Actors And Directors. He has previously directed music videos, including for Moby’s “Wait for Me” and Pet Shop Boys’ “Together”.
Rebane is openly gay and has for years championed equal rights legislation of the LGBT community in Estonia.
BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival, tracing its history back to 1986, is the biggest LGBTIQ+ film festival in Europe and takes places annually in the spring. It is organised and run by the British Film Institute.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s festival will be available digitally from 17 to 28 March, with the full programme announced on 23 February.
Cover: A promotional shot from “Firebird”.