Kneecap wins audience award at Sundance Film Festival


“an audacious film that completely obliterates the expectations of the musical biopic genre” The Wrap

“Big, Booming, and Fearless”


Rich Peppiatt’s KNEECAP has won an Audience Award at the renowned Sundance Film Festival in Utah.   It marks the first Irish feature film to win at the festival since John Carney’s ONCE in 2007.

Speaking about the win, KNEECAP 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 as certainly tested that wisdom – and we’re basking in every moment”.

The band Kneecap added: “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 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 (Steve Jobs, 12 Years a Slave), Simone Kirby (Hidden Assets, Jimmy’s Hall), Jessica Reynolds (Outlander), Fionnuala Flaherty (Ros na Rún) 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”.

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.  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.

KNEECAP will be released in cinemas by Wildcard and Curzon later this year. 

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