The LGBTQ Policy Center at Roosevelt House is pleased to present a screening of the new, award-winning film Firebird, followed by a conversation with the stars and director of the film. A passionate and harrowing historical romance, Firebird tells the true story of a clandestine affair between a young Russian soldier and fighter pilot on an Air Force base in occupied Estonia during the 1970’s Communist rule.

Based on Sergey Fetisov’s memoir, The Story of Roman, the film follows a troubled young private who is counting the days until his military service ends when his life is turned upside down by the arrival at the base of a charismatic fighter pilot named Roman. Driven by curiosity, Sergey and Roman navigate the precarious line between love and friendship at a time when Soviet men in uniform caught having a sexual relationship faced the most severe punishment. As their friendship grows into love, the men risk their freedom—and their lives—to be together.

As Ryan Gillbey wrote in The Guardian: Firebird is “the film Putin doesn’t want the world to see. It has been accused of ‘shaming Moscow’…. But the makers of this powerful drama about dogfights and dangerous desires refuse to be silenced.”

Tom Prior (Sergey) is from England and one of the two lead actors in Firebird. He is also a writer and producer of the film. His other films and TV work include The Theory of Everything; Kingsman: The Secret Service; Endeavour; Dusty and Me; and Blood on the Crown. He has appeared on London’s West End in Tory Boyz; Prince of Denmark; and Romeo & Juliet. Last year he was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for his performance in Firebird.

Peeter Rebane is the director, writer, and producer of Firebird. He is from Estonia and his films include Sailing to Freedom and the documentaries Tashi Delek! and Robbie Williams: Fans Journey to Tallinn as well as numerous music videos. He has also produced the European Film Awards, the Eurovision Song Contest, and hundreds of concerts in the Baltic region for artists including Elton John, Bob Dylan, Madonna, and Sting.

Oleg Zagorodnii (Roman) is one of the two lead actors in Firebird. The Ukrainian actor was formerly a member of Kirill Serebrennikov’s Gogol Centre in Moscow. His theater credits include Ozero and Brothers, based on Luchino Visconti’s Rokko and his Brothers. He has also appeared in such TV series as The Choice,Dzhamayka, and Pregnancy Test.

Erin Mayo-Adam, moderator, is the director of the LGBTQ Policy Center at Roosevelt House, an assistant professor in the Hunter College Political Science Department, and a member of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Faculty and Curriculum Committee. She is the author of Queer Alliances: How Power Shapes Political Movement Formation and has published in numerous academic outlets, including the Law & Society Review and Law & Social Inquiry.


This event is co-sponsored by the CUNY LGBTQ Advisory Council and it is made possible by the generous support of the New York City Council.

“FIREBIRD” A Film Screening and Discussion with the Stars and Director | Posted on June 8th, 2022 | Film Screenings, LGBTQ Center Program