REBEL DYKES (UK, directed by Harri Shanahan and Sian A. Williams)
REBEL DYKES (UK, directed by Harri Shanahan and Sian A. Williams)

Two new gay and lesbian films – Rebel Dykes, a brilliant and refreshing documentary history of UK post-punk dyke culture in 1980’s London; and Firebird, a sweeping love story about freedom and love against all odds set in the Soviet Air Force at the height of the Cold War will world premiere at BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival.

Screening in the Minds strand of the Festival, Rebel Dykes directed by Harri Shanahan and Sian A. Williams puts a forgotten history firmly on the map, with a joyful and colorful story of post-punk dyke culture in the UK as told by those artists, performers, musicians, sex workers and activists who lived it and together found their chosen family.

A heady, energized mash-up of animation, unseen archive footage and interviews, Rebel Dykes provides an intimate insight into the politically charged, artistically radical sub culture in 1980s London, and the individuals who helped shape and change their world. Bringing together BDSM nightclubs, inclusive, sexpositive feminism, DIY zine culture, post-punk musicians and artists, squatters, activists and sex workers, these rebel dykes went out onto the streets to make their voices heard. From feminist protests at Greenham Common to anti-Thatcher rallies and later protests against AIDS and Section 28, the rebel dykes united LGBTIQ+ communities against a hostile landscape of fear, prejudice and homophobia, finding the freedom and power to love and live out their politics.

FIREBIRD (UK/Estonia, directed by Peeter Rebane)
FIREBIRD (UK/Estonia, directed by Peeter Rebane)

Screening as part of the Hearts strand, Firebird directed by Peeter Rebane is a touching love story set at the height of the Cold War, where a troubled soldier (Tom Prior) forms a forbidden love triangle with a daring fighter pilot (Oleg Zagorodnii) and his female comrade (Diana Pozharskaya) amid the dangerous surroundings of a Soviet Air Force Base.’

What begins as a friendship across the ranks soon transforms into something more risky, in feature debut director Peeter Rebane’s lavishly orchestrated and beautifully realized account of love’s flourishing against all odds, based on a true story. The script co-written by Peeter Rebane and the film’s lead, actor and screenwriter Tom Prior (The Theory of Everything, Kingsman: The Secret Service) was inspired by Sergey Fetisov’s memoir, ‘The Story of Roman’.

Peeter Rebane, Director, Firebird, said: “We are grateful and humbled to have our world premiere at BFI Flare. Firebird is a touching and personal film for me, having grown up in Soviet occupied Estonia, near the Air Force Base where this true story took place. I was deeply fascinated at how such a forbidden love triangle formed in the Soviet Air Force at the height of the Cold War. How they risked everything, even their lives, in order to be together with the one you love. A story of this kind, in this setting, has rarely been explored in cinema before. We hope you will join us in sharing this touching and universal story with the world.”

This year’s virtual edition of BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival will take place March 17-28, 2021.

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