TV & Movies

The True Story Behind Firebird Is More Than A Tearjerker

The film stars Kingsman actor Tom Prior like you’ve never seen him before.

Everything To Know About The Story Of Forbidden love In 'Firebird'

It takes a huge amount of bravery to stand up to a communist state which threatens jail time for homosexuality. And yet during the Soviet occupation of Estonia in the 1970s, two men living on an air force base decided to risk it all in the name of love. This is the plot of the unmissable Firebird, a film directed, co-written and co-produced by Peeter Rebane, which is based on the Russian writer Sergey Fetisov’s memoir, The Story Of Roman. The film first had its world premiere at the 35th BFI Flare: London LGBTQ+ Film Festival on Mar. 17 and is set to be released in UK cinemas on Apr. 16. Here’s everything you need to know about this powerful film.

The Firebird Plot

Based on a passionate love story, Firebird is set during the Cold War at a Soviet Air Force post in Estonia. The story follows the life of a young soldier named Sergey who is counting down the days until his military service is over. But when Roman, an ace fighter pilot, lands at the base in 1977, Sergey’s life is flipped upside down.

Driven by their unmistakable connection, Sergey and Roman teeter the edge between love and friendship, risking their freedom and their lives to be together in the face of a communist Soviet regime, infamous for ruthlessly prosecuting members of the LGBTQ+ community. “A story as relevant today as it was almost 50 years ago, it is especially meaningful to share our core message – that love is love,” director Rebane told Deadline.

Firebird’s Cast

Viewers might recognise The Theory of Everything and Kingsman actor Tom Prior as the film’s titular character, as well as Skyfall’s Nicholas Woodeson. Also featured in the film is Ukrainian actor Oleg Zagorodnii, Russian actor Diana Pozharskaya, and Estonian actor Margus Prangel. Directed by Peeter Rebane (who is making his theatrical feature directorial debut), the film has been shown at festivals around the world including NYC’s NewFest and London’s BFI Flare.

In a joint statement, Roadside Attractions’ Co-Presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff said: “Peeter Rebane and Tom Prior’s film is both a gorgeous love story and a reminder of how lucky we are to live freely and openly, when at other times and in other places even today, others cannot.”

Firebird Release Date & Trailer

While the trailer dropped in Oct. 11, 2021, Firebird is set to be released exclusively in UK cinemas on Apr. 16. You can have a glimpse of the trailer below.