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Movies & TV

24th Jan 2024

NI Screen defends handing Kneecap film almost €1m in funding

Joseph Loftus

Northern Ireland Screen is committed to supporting independent film production.

The film body who partly funded the Kneecap biopic have said that the film was never going to be “universally celebrated” in Northern Ireland.

The film, named after the band, became the first Irish language film to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah last week.

Starring Michael Fassbender alongside the west Belfast trio of DJ Próvaí, Móglaí Bap and Mo Chara, it documents a semi-fictionalised version of the group’s rise to fame.

The film was part-funded by the National Lottery who provided around €947,000 while Northern Ireland Screen awarded an estimated €941,000 in funding.

Northern Ireland Screen stand by their decision to fund the film.

After facing criticism for funding the film, NI Screen said that they accepted the movie would never be universally popular.

A spokesperson said: “The film Kneecap was never going to be universally celebrated in Northern Ireland, but Northern Ireland Screen must consistently apply its assessment criteria.

“Against our criteria, Kneecap is performing strongly, already attracting very positive international reviews at its world premiere at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

“Northern Ireland Screen is committed to supporting independent film production in Northern Ireland as an integral sector within the screen industry here.

“It also has a stated objective to support vibrant and diverse cultural voices that are recognised and celebrated equally at home and abroad.”

They concluded: “Our assessment of the project placed considerable weight on the other strong national and international funding attached including an experienced international sales agent (Charades), UK and Ireland distributors Curzon and Wildcard as well as backing from the British Film Institute, Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland, Coimisiún na Meán, TG4 and Great Point Media.”

Kneecap is slated for an Irish release sometime in 2024 and was included in JOE’s list of the most exciting movies coming out this year.

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