Belfast rap group Kneecap make history with new film becoming first Irish language movie at Sundance Festival

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KNEECAP, featuring the band along with several big-name Irish Hollywood stars, will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah on its opening night, Thursday, January 18.

The film stars the band’s Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Próvaí in their acting debuts.

They will feature 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).

Kneecap said wherever they go, they aim to “smash preconceptions” about cultural identity, language and “highlight the role of the working classes” to “overthrow oppressive power.”

“We’re immensely proud of the film and can’t wait to get it to cinemas around the world,” they said, adding that they are looking forward to brining their message from West Belfast to the silver screen.

The group, who rap in Irish about topics such as their republicanism first arrived on the music scene in 2017 with their single C.E.A.R.T.A. They are preparing to release their debut album in 2024.

The new feature film is set in West Belfast in 2019, chronicling how fate brings the trio together and how they then go on to “change the sound of Irish music forever”.

The Sundance Film Festival, established in 1978, is the world’s most prestigious festival dedicated to independent films, screening titles such as The Usual Suspects, Reservoir Dogs and In Bruges.

KNEECAP is the first non-US film to ever be selected for the NEXT section of the festival.

Director Rich Peppiatt said it is an honour to be “breaking new ground for Irish language cinema.”

“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,” he said.

The Sundance Film Festival will take place between January 18-28 in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah with KNEECAP screening on the opening night.

KNEECAP will be released in Irish cinemas by Wildcard and Curzon in 2024.

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