FEATURE TO SCREEN ON OPENING NIGHT OF PRESTIGIOUS US FESTIVAL
6TH DECEMBER 2023: Rich Peppiatt’s KNEECAP will have its world premiere at the renowned Sundance Film Festival in Utah next month where it will screen on the opening night on Thursday 18th January.
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 (Steve Jobs, 12 Years a Slave), Simone Kirby (Hidden Assets, Jimmy’s Hall) and Josie Walker (Belfast, The Wonder). 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”.
Speaking about the world premiere writer / director 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 & provokes every bit as much as Kneecap’s music.”
Kneecap added: “We are buzzing to be premiering at Sundance. 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.”
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.”
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 Sing Street and Lee Cronin’s The Hole in the Ground.
KNEECAP is the first non-US film to ever be selected for the NEXT section of the festival. The festival describes selections for this section as “pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to story-telling”. The film is writer/director Rich Peppiatt’s first live-action feature following his award-winning satirical documentary One Rogue Reporter.
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.
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 Sundance Film Festival will take place from 18th – 28th January 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.