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THE FIRST IRISH language film ever to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival has won an Audience Award.

The film titled Kneecap (stylised as KNEECAP) follows the story of the Belfast rap-trio, of the same name, and the dramatic tales of their career growth as one of the first hip hop acts to perform as Gaeilge.

The group, made up of musicians Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Próvaí, made their acting debuts at the festival. The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Simone Kirby, Jessica Reynolds and Fionnuala Flaherty.

The film was screened for the first time at the festival last week. 

It has now won the Audience Award: NEXT at the festival. 

Reacting to the news, Kneecap posted on X, formerly Twitter: “Holy Moly! Our movie has just gone and won the audience award at Sundance! Never in doubt.” 

The rap group gained acclaim for their blend of Irish and English rap about the realities of growing up in post-Troubles Belfast. It was first featured on Irish radio by late-Raidió na Gaeltachta broadcaster Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí.

The film attempts to tell the same story their music does and about how fate brought the trio together, in turn going on to “change the sound of Irish music forever”.

It has already racked up a number of notable reviews, with outlets such as the Irish Times, the LA Times and film-review magazine Screen Daily publishing positive round ups of the movie so far. 

The film 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 was provided by Northern Ireland Screen, the Irish Language Broadcast Fund, Screen Ireland, the BFI, Coimisiún na Meán and TG4, with backing from Great Point Media.

It will be released in cinemas later this year. 

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