THE forthcoming eponymous feature film based on west Belfast Irish language rap trio Kneecap will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month.
Kneecap, which stars Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Próvaí alongside Irish star Michael Fassbender, is set to screen on Thursday January 18, the opening night of the 2024 Sundance festival.
Filmed in Belfast, it is the first ever Irish language film selected for the prestigious independent film-orientated event, which takes place in Utah and was founded by Robert Redford.
Produced by Belfast-based Fine Point Films and based on the trio's origin story, the Rich Peppiatt (One Rogue Reporter)-written and directed Kneecap also stars Simone Kirby (Hidden Assets, Jimmy’s Hall) and Josie Walker (Belfast, The Wonder).
Set in west Belfast in 2019, the film "chronicles how fate brings the trio together and how they then go on to 'change the sound of Irish music forever'.”
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“We are buzzing to be premiering at Sundance," said Kneecap, announcing the news of their film's selection.
"Wherever we go, we aim to smash preconceptions about cultural identity, language and highlight the role of the working classes to overthrow oppressive power.
"To now bring this message from the streets of west Belfast to the big screen is f***ing excellent. We're immensely proud of the film and can't wait to get it to cinemas around the world.”
Kneecap is the first non-US film to ever be selected for the NEXT section of the festival, a showcase for “pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to story-telling”.
Rich Peppiatt said: “When I first set out to make a film in a language I didn't speak, set in a place I'm not from, little could I have imagined four years later we would be introducing Kneecap the movie to the world at the Mecca of Independent cinema.
"It's an honour to be breaking new ground for Irish language cinema with a film that surprises and provokes every bit as much as Kneecap's music.”
Producer Trevor Birney from Fine Point Films added: “This is the first Irish language film to have been selected by Sundance, which is simply incredible not only for Rich Peppiatt and Kneecap but for Fine Point and the film industry in Ireland, north and south.
"I was excited about this film from the moment Rich came to me with the idea and we began to work together with the band on making it happen.
"Thanks to the incredible crew and, of course, the funders who supported Rich’s vision. Go raibh maith agaibh.”
Patrick O’Neill, MD at distributors Wildcard said: "Wildcard are thrilled to be involved with Kneecap as producer and distributor.
"It's a brilliant Irish film that I am sure will connect with audiences all over Ireland and worldwide. We can't wait to bring it to Irish cinemas in 2024."
The Sundance Film Festival will take place from January 18 to 28 in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kneecap will be released in Irish cinemas by Wildcard and Curzon in 2024.