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Movies & TV

27th Jan 2024

Kneecap movie wins audience award at Sundance after massive acclaim

Stephen Porzio


The Irish-language movie holds a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score and has a secured a major deal to screen around the world.

New Irish-language movie Kneecap has picked up an audience award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

Based on the origin story of the Belfast-based hip-hop trio of the same, the film was the first Irish-language movie to be selected for the festival and premiered to rave reviews last week, some of which you can read here.

It currently holds a perfect 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and has already been picked up by Sony Picture Classics.

The latter has acquired all rights to the movie for North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East – meaning it should screen all over the world.

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Kneecap movie wins audience award at Sundance

Kneecap won the audience award in the Next section of the festival, a strand devoted to championing “pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling”.

Its victory makes it the first Irish feature film to win at Sundance since Oscar-winner Once back in 2007.

Speaking about the prize, the band Kneecap said in a statement:

“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.”

Described as a “raucous anti-establishment comedy”, the movie stars Kneecap’s Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Próvaí in their acting debuts, alongside Oscar-nominee Michael Fassbender, Simone Kirby (Hidden Assets) and Josie Walker (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,” the plot synopsis reads.

Last week, the three members of Kneecap arrived on the red carpet at the Sundance Film Festival in a fully kitted-out Northern Irish PSNI Land Rover, complete with the band’s name spray painted across the vehicle.

In a statement, the group said the stunt – which attracted significant media attention – was “designed to provoke reaction and conversation around the Irish language and Irish politics as the world watches”.

This is as part of the comedy film details how the trio was formed in the wake of growing demand for Irish language protections in Northern Ireland.

Founded in 1978, the Sundance Film Festival is the world’s most prestigious festival dedicated to independent films.

Its 2024 edition is taking place from 18–28 January in Park City and Salt Lake City in Utah, with the Kneecap movie having screened on the opening night of the event.

The comedy will then be released in Irish cinemas later in 2024. It was included in JOE’s list of the most exciting movies coming out this year.

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