Irish film about rap trio Kneecap wins audience award at Sundance

An Irish-language film based on rap trio Kneecap has won an audience award at the prestigious Sundance film festival.

The movie held its world premiere last week and has since signed a major international distribution deal with Sony Pictures Classics at the festival in Utah.

Based on the origin story of the raucous Irish-language rap trio Kneecap, the film stars the band’s Mo Chara, Moglai Bap and DJ Provai in their acting debuts alongside Michael Fassbender.

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

Kneecap, the film, was awarded the Next audience award during the festival.

Writer and director Rich Peppiatt said: “There’s a saying in Irish – Ni mhaireann solas na maidine don la – 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”.

In a statement, the band said: “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.”

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, Coimisiun na Mean and TG4, with backing from Great Point Media.

It will be released in cinemas later this year.