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Irish language film Kneecap wins award at Sundance

An Irish language film featuring a Belfast rap group has won a coveted prize at the world’s most prestigious film festival.

The autobiographical picture tells the story of the band – Kneecap – and their efforts to break into the music industry.

It won the Audience Award: NEXT at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The award was accepted by director Rich Peppiatt, who said the band and those involved in the film had had “an amazing week”.

“Ever since we arrived at Sundance, the sun has kept shining on this film,” he said.

The band arrived back in Belfast in recent days, having spent a week in the United States promoting the film.

It’s made up of Móglaí Bap, Mo Chara and DJ Próvaí. Michael Fassbender also stars in the movie.

🏆 The Audience Award: NEXT presented by @Adobe goes to KNEECAP, directed by Rich Peppiatt (@richpeppiatt). #Sundance

— Sundance Film Festival (@sundancefest) January 26, 2024

Móglaí Bap said the Sundance Festival had been a “crazy experience” and Mo Chara suggested an Oscar nomination might follow.

“This will definitely open more doors for other film festivals and possibly an Oscar.

“If you’d said about being long listed for an Oscar a couple of years it wouldn’t have seemed too likely.

“But after this award it’s not as far fetched.”

Director Rich Peppiatt holds the Next Audience Award for their film Kneecap

Producer Trevor Birney of Fine Point Films said thousands of films were submitted to the festival for consideration every year, with around sixty of them chosen for screening.

“And out of those 60 we are winning a very prestigious prize, it’s fantastic.”

He said the band and their energy had been the talk of the festival.

“If you’d asked me 12 months ago was I going to get the film made, I’d have said I hope to.

“If you’d told me it was going to get to Sundance, I’d have said, ‘you’re joking’.

“Now you’re talking about Oscars. It’s been so rewarding in every sense, so nothing would surprise me.”

The film has been taken up by a major US distributor and will be shown in hundreds of cinemas across America this summer.

Kneecap is working on a debut album and is expected to play some major festivals this summer.

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