Sweeping Cold War true story epic FIREBIRD plays at OUTFEST August 21, DGA 1 at 1:30 p.m.; also available streaming online August 22 starting 8 a.m.

Sweeping Cold War true story epic FIREBIRD plays at OUTFEST August 21, DGA 1 at 1:30 p.m.; also available streaming online August 22 starting 8 a.m.

By Oliver Carnay

FIREBIRD is based on a true story from the memoir of Sergey Fetisov who died in 2017.  It is a dangerous, forbidden love triangle story that could be one of my favorite films this year (so far).  It is a well-crafted film, great cinematography with good production value and perfect soundtrack.  The three main leads satisfactorily had me with their performances.  FIREBIRD is a story about accidental love, crossing the border of friendship and searching for one’s identity in a repressive universal human right: to love and be loved.

The film, set during the Cold War happened at the Haapsalu Air Force Base in western Estonia where at the time, homosexual relations were criminalized in Russia (until the year 1993).  “Sergey Serebrenikov” (TOM PRIOR), a young private soldier is best friends with “Lucia,” his comrade typist who dreams of becoming a medical doctor.  When newly arrived flight Russian lieutenant “Roman” meets both, uncertainty starts to unveil.  Sergey was assigned to assist Roman and soon a special bond formed between the two.  While the attraction is eminent between the two, meeting in hiding at Roman’s place or at the beach, Sergey feels insecure about the growing relationship between Roman and his best friend Lucia in public, but at the same time is worried about betraying his best friend.  Roman is forced to marry Lucia as he fears his identity is being watched by the KGB and encourages Sergey to pursue his passion to become a dramatic actor in Moscow and to forget about him.  Sergey moved to Moscow but hoped Roman would follow him.  Four years passed, Roman is happily married with his son and wife, but things turn differently when one day he decides to surprise Sergey in Moscow who is already making a name in the theatre world.  Roman creates an alibi to work temporarily in Moscow so he can be with Sergey but soon enough Lucia finds out about the relationship after visiting them.  Sergey couldn’t carry the lies he had with Lucia, sends out a letter to Roman that he is leaving.  Lucia read the letter.  There’s another twist in this real life story, but you have to find out when you watch the film.

Peeter Rebane came across the story of FIREBIRD seven years ago, via a copy of “The Story of Roman” by Sergey Fetisov.  “I read the story over the weekend, and it made me weep,” said Rebane.  “This is such a tragic, yet fascinating story.” He knew right away that he had to make this movie.  Taking the memoir as a starting point, Rebane collaborated on the script with Tom Prior, actor and co-screenwriter of the film.  They met in 2014, and they instantly connected to the story.  “We worked extremely well together, but we brought different skills to the project, “ said Rebane.  “My strengths are more analytical whereas Tom’s are rooted in feeling the truth of the moment.  It was a perfect collaboration; we could develop the story so that it felt honest.”

“We live at a time when basic human rights, equality and freedom are still under attack around the world,” said Rebane.  “My goal with FIREBIRD is to reveal how different family models have survived even in the most repressed societies, like the Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

To get tickets for this film, please go here: https://outfestla2021.com/firebird/

Browse all the films at OUTFEST here: www.outfest2021la.com