Northern Ireland

Kneecap movie to have Irish premiere at Galway Film Fleadh

Movie starring Belfast rap trio will open festival on July 9

West Belfast rap trio Kneecap pose with a red 1980 Mazda 626
Belfast Irish language rap trio Kneecap. PICTURE: PEADER GILL

The Irish premiere of the movie telling the story of Belfast rappers Kneecap is to take place in Galway to kick off the city’s prestigious annual film festival.

Kneecap, directed by Rich Peppiatt and starring Kneecap’s Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Próvaí in their acting debuts, will be screened as the opening night feature of the 2024 Galway Film Fleadh on July 9.

The movie is a semi-fictionalised account of the Irish language hip-hop trio’s rise to fame, and also features Oscar-nominated star Michael Fassbender.

Kneecap in a scene from Kneecap
Kneecap in a scene from the new movie directed by Rich Peppiatt

It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, USA, in January, where it won the coveted Audience Award: NEXT, and became the first Irish language film to be screened at the festival.

It is due to be released in cinemas worldwide later this year.

In a statement, the band said: “We’re honoured that Kneecap has been selected to open Ireland’s leading film festival.

“Sundance was something else, but nothing beats the west of Ireland.

“We’re buzzin’ mostly for the first Irish audience to see the film and get all the little references that sailed over the yanks heads.

“And for an Irish language film to have, no doubt, plenty of speakers in the room.”

The band also welcomed the Galway Film Fleadh’s decision to focus on Palestine for the 2024 event, with a series of narrative and documentary films to be screened showcasing the work of Palestinian filmmakers and stories from the region.

“As excited as we are for the screening, we cannot take our minds away from Gaza where this very moment a genocide is being committed that’s supported by the same western states that pretend to care about human rights,” the group said.

The statement added: “Well done to Galway Film Fleadh for choosing Palestine as their country of focus.

“We had one stipulation as the film got distributed around the world and that was that it was not sold or screened in Israel.”

The festival’s director of programming, Maeve McGrath, said: “Opening the 36th Galway Film Fleadh with an Irish language film signifies the Fleadh’s commitment to Irish language programming and showcasing Irish film.

“We are thrilled to have the Irish premiere of KNEECAP at the Fleadh, a vibrant and energetic film that will have the audience dancing in the aisles.”

Kneecap will release their debut album, Fine Art, next month on Heavenly Records.