Roadside Attractions Acquires Cold War Romantic Drama ‘Firebird’ From Director Peeter Rebane

EXCLUSIVE: Roadside Attractions has acquired North American rights to Peeter Rebane’s theatrical feature directorial debut, Firebird, with plans to release it exclusively in theaters on April 29.

Based on a true story that unfolded during the Cold War, Firebird is a love story set against the backdrop of a Soviet Air Force base in Estonia during late 1970s Communist rule. Sergey (Tom Prior), a soulful, young soldier who dreams of becoming an actor in Moscow, is counting the days until his military service ends. His life turns upside down when he locks eyes with Roman (Oleg Zagorodnii), an enigmatic ace fighter pilot newly assigned to his base.

Driven by their undeniable attraction, Sergey and Roman navigate the precarious line between love and friendship at a time when Soviet men in uniform caught having a sexual affair were met with the severest punishment. As their friendship grows into love, the men risk their freedom and their lives to be together in the face of an all-seeing Soviet regime.

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Oleg Zagorodnii, Diana Pozharskaya, Jake Thomas Henderson, Margus Prangel and Nicholas Woodeson round out the cast of the critically acclaimed film, which has played at festivals around the world including LA’s Outfest, NYC’s NewFest, San Francisco’s Frameline and London’s BFI Flare.

Rebane and Prior penned the script, with Brigita Rozenbrika, Christopher Racster, Orlan Boston and Dankuro Shinma producing, and Michael Edelstein and Mauro Durant serving as executive producers. The Factory’s Tim Grohne is handling international distribution rights.

“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,” said Roadside Attractions’ Co-Presidents Howard Cohen & Eric d’Arbeloff in a joint statement. “Tom Prior has created an unforgettable character in his portrayal of Sergey, a man whose desire to be true to himself should inspire us all.”

“This powerful story of one man’s journey influenced me personally having grown up in the USSR. 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,” added Rebane. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Firebird in the incredible hands of the team at Roadside Attractions. They are passionate about independent film and highly skilled at delivering meaningful stories to audiences that move the needle on subjects and issues so relevant to the world we live in today.”

Since its founding in 2003, Roadside Attractions’ films have grossed over $500 million and garnered 23 Academy Award nominations. The company has recently released films including The Courier, Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It and The Alpinist. Other upcoming releases include the Sundance 2022 titles Alice starring Keke Palmer, Common and Jonny Lee Miller; Emily the Criminal starring Aubrey Plaza, which it co-acquired with Vertical Entertainment; and Call Jane starring Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver; Aline, a fiction inspired by the life of Celine Dion; Terence Davies’ Benediction starring Jack Lowden, and John Michael McDonagh’s thriller The Forgiven, starring Jessica Chastain and Ralph Fiennes, which it co-acquired with Vertical.

Howard Cohen negotiated the deal for Firebird on behalf of Roadside Attractions, with Rebane, Michael Donaldson and Jamie Shepard at Donaldson Callif Perez on behalf of the filmmakers.

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