SONY PICTURES CLASSICS has acquired the rights to the eponymous debut film from Belfast rappers Kneecap.
The company moved swiftly ahead of the movie’s premiere at the Sundance Festival on Thursday, the first Irish language film to screen at the prestigious event.
Starring band members Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Próvaí as well as Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender, the film has also been winning over critics, currently holding a 100 per cent ‘fresh’ rating on leading movie aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes.
A semi-biographical account of the band’s formation, the comedy premiered at the Prospector Square Theatre in Park City, Utah on Thursday.
Following the screening, the band — who perform in both Irish and English — revealed the news of Sony’s acquisition on Twitter.
“We’d like to congratulate Sony Pictures on their purchase of our film for North America, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. Clever folks,” read a tweet from Kneecap.
Sony Pictures Classics — a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment — subsequently confirmed via its own social media channels that it had snapped up the ‘raucous biopic’.
Kneecap have courted controversy in the past, including unveiling a mural of a burning PSNI Land Rover ahead of their 2022 Féile an Phobail gig.
It was little surprise then that the trio arrived in Utah in similarly ostentatious style.
Charting their journey on social media, the band made a stop in the city of Provo (named for French-Canadian trapper Etienne Provost, in case you’re wondering).
They then rolled into Park City in a PSNI Land Rover bedecked with Irish Tricolours and the band’s name spray-painted on the side while the trio let off flares.
The evening was rounded off with a gig at The Cabin on Park City’s Main Street.
The band also have a nine-date tour of North America scheduled for March and April.
‘Fervent and unforgettable’
Kneecap (the movie) is directed by Rich Peppiatt, who previously worked with the band on the music video for their song Guilty Conscience.
Profiling the movie, Sundance says it sees the ‘anarchic Belfast trio become unlikely figureheads of a civil rights movement to save their mother tongue’.
“Armed with a blend of English and native Irish verses and blazing, politically charged rhymes, Kneecap’s music takes us on a ketamine-fueled, rollicking trip to encounter the meaning of pure defiance,” it reads.
“Filmmaker Rich Peppiatt captures the untamable essence of this singular trio with unapologetic humor and energy, revealing a generation born out of chaos and ready to reclaim their cultural heritage.
“Fervent and unforgettable, Kneecap is the rallying cry of a music group poised to take the world by storm.”
It adds that Fassbender plays a ‘charismatic father figure turned political martyr’.
Dubbing the movie ‘gleefully irreverent’, a review in the Hollywood Reporter concludes: “All in all, it’s a film filled with the kind of warmth and black comedy that, at the risk of stereotyping, are quintessential to the region.”
A further screening will take place at the Egyptian Theater in Park City on Wednesday, with online screenings on January 25 and 29.