"Kneecap," the new Irish language film about the origins of the eponymous rap trio from Belfast, will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival where it will screen on the opening night, Thursday, January 18.
"Kneecap" has the dual distinction of being the first Irish language film to be selected for Sundance, as well as the first non-US film to ever be selected for the festival’s NEXT section.
"To bring our story from the streets of West Belfast to the big screen is f*cking excellent and it's now coming to the World," Kneecap said on X today, December 6.
SERIOUS NEWS 🚨
🎥Kneecap, has been selected for @sundancefest World Premier on opening night, January 18th.
To bring our story from the streets of West Belfast to the big screen is f*cking excellent and it's now coming to the World.🇮🇪December 6, 2023
Based on the origin story of the riotous and ground-breaking Irish-language rap trio Kneecap, the film stars the band’s Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap, and DJ Próvaí in their acting debuts alongside Michael Fassbender, Simone Kirby, and Josie Walker.
Set in west Belfast in 2019, "Kneecap" chronicles how fate brings the trio together and how they then go on to “change the sound of Irish music forever."
“We are buzzing to be premiering at Sundance," Kneecap said on Wednesday.
"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*cking excellent.
"We're immensely proud of the film and can't wait to get it to cinemas around the world.”
"Kneecap" was produced by Jack Tarling and Trevor Birney for Fine Point Films and Mother Tongues Films, with Patrick O’Neill at Wildcard acting as Co-Producer. Funding for the film was provided by Northern Ireland Screen, the Irish Language Broadcast Fund, Screen Ireland, the BFI (awarding National Lottery funding), Coimisiún na Meán, and TG4, with backing from Great Point Media.
The new film is writer/director Rich Peppiatt’s first live-action feature following his award-winning satirical documentary "One Rogue Reporter." Peppiatt said on Wednesday: “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 said: “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 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."
Proinsias Ní Ghráinne, Commissioning Editor in TG4, said: "TG4 is the obvious broadcast partner for this bold, pulsating comedy, a rich mix of dark satire, realism and language activism.
"What an affirmation for Irish language film and for how far our language can travel that Kneecap's story and soundtrack will open the biggest independent film festival in the world."
Described by the LA Times as “reminiscent of the early Eminem," the band Kneecap is gaining critical acclaim for their artful blend of Irish and English rap about the gritty reality of growing up in post-Troubles Belfast.
Their single "Better Way to Live" featuring Grian Chatten was released last month with their highly anticipated debut album set to be released early next year.
The Sundance Film Festival will take place from January 18 -28 in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah with "Kneecap" screening on the opening night. Anonymous Content (The Revenant) will be representing the film at the festival alongside sales agent Charades (Aftersun).
"Kneecap" will be released in Irish cinemas by Wildcard and Curzon in 2024.