Director Peeter Rebane along with the lead actor. and co-writer Tom Prior have made an active response to the reception of the film to highlight the plight of LGBTQ+ people in Ukraine and Russia. It’s now available to watch on most prominent VOD services in the UK.
In a statement about the film’s release in light of these recent events, the director Peeter Rebane along with lead actor and co-writer Tom Prior have said:
“Firebird shines a harsh spotlight on Russia’s long history of persecuting LGBTQIA+ people and any of those voicing dissent to their authoritarian regime.
“When writing Firebird, we made a promise to the real Sergey Fetisov to make his life story about love, not politics. However, in light of the recent sickening invasion of Ukraine, one cannot avoid speaking about politics. And the situation is immensely personal to everyone on the production. We are truly concerned about our supporting lead, Oleg Zagorodinii, a Ukrainian actor currently in Kyiv. Our thoughts and prayers are with him every day, and for the Russian atrocities to end soon.
“Firebird itself has already been directly targeted by the Russian government and ultra-nationalist groups. The film was silenced at the Moscow International Film Festival in 2021 where ticket sales were shut down and demonstrators stood in front of the cinema with placards demanding to “Stop Homosexual Propaganda.” Firebird had to be screened via servers outside of Russia in Ukraine, and the online Q&A had to be terminated as Russian bots attacked the website and the festival servers were eventually taken down by the government. After the initial screening, Russian press headlines read: “A Brit, an Estonian and a Ukrainian shame the Moscow International Film Festival” and the team received dozens of death threats.
” In response to the current situation, we are stepping up to use the attention that Firebird is receiving to focus on the plight of LGBTQIA+ people in Ukraine and Russia. Firebird has teamed with the global advocacy group, All Out, to support its work to coordinate evacuations and safe spaces for queer refugees from Ukraine and to foster meaningful dialogue about the persecution of LGBTQIA+ people in Russia.
“Firebird tells a story of following true love – at all costs, and standing against the oppressive Russian regime. Now, more than ever, is a time this message needs to be shared. Our support and love goes out to everyone fighting this war and regime, both in Russia and Ukraine”. – Peeter Rebane and Tom Prior
Firebird is now available on VOD platforms in UK, including Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play and PeccadilloPOD
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