Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Belfast rap group Kneecap’s Irish language biopic wins Audience Award at Sundance Festival

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The self-titled Kneecap marks the first Irish feature film to win at the festival since John Carney’s Once in 2007 and is the first Irish language film ever to win an award at the festival.

“We are delighted to have such an award bestowed upon the first Irish language film at Sundance. Hopefully it will give people in Ireland the confidence to pursue the arts through their native tongue. Special thanks to our PR team at the DUP,” the band joked, mocking their fractious relationship with the political party.

Speaking about the win, the film’s writer and director Rich Peppiatt said: “There’s a saying in Irish – Ní mhaireann solas na maidine don lá – which means no morning sun lasts all day. Well, the amazing week we’ve had here at Sundance since premiering our movie has certainly tested that wisdom – and we’re basking in every moment”.

The Audience Award follows what has been a very successful festival for the film. Since its world premiere last week, Kneecap – which was the first-ever Irish language film to be selected for the festival – has been receiving rave reviews from critics and audiences alike.

It also scored a major international deal with Sony Pictures Classics during the festival with the film now set for release in North America and other major, global markets.

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 Academy Award-nominated Michael Fassbender, Simone Kirby, Jessica Reynolds, Fionnuala Flaherty and Josie Walker.

Set in west Belfast in 2019, it chronicles how fate brings the trio together and how they then go on to “change the sound of Irish music forever”.

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.

Founded in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival is the world’s most prestigious festival dedicated to independent films. Titles that have screened at the festival in the past include The Usual Suspects, Reservoir Dogs, Little Miss Sunshine, and In Bruges as well as Irish productions such as John Crowley’s Brooklyn, Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Lobster, John Carney’s Once and Sing Street and Lee Cronin’s The Hole in the Ground.

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. The film will be released in cinemas later this year.

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