The birth of the hip and naughty Irish-language rap group Kneecap will be portrayed in a raucous anti-establishment comedy penned and directed by Rich Peppiatt (“One Rogue Reporter”).
The film, which wrapped shooting this month, features the eponymous trio (Mo Chara, Móglaí Bap and DJ Próvaí) who play heightened versions of their own lives against the backdrop of post-Troubles Belfast. The politically engaged band has gained critical acclaim for their artful blend of Irish and English rap about the gritty reality of growing up in Northern Ireland.
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French sales and co-production house Charades has boarded “Kneecap” and will be representing the film in international sales, while Curzon and Wildcard will handle the distribution in the U.K. and Ireland.
Charades will be unveiling the first footage of “Kneecap” at the GREAT 8 event, the annual Cannes buyers’ showcase of U.K. films from up-and-coming first and second-time directors. Charades previously took part of GREAT 8 with Charlotte Regan’s “Scrapper” and Charlotte Wells’s “Aftersun” which earned an Oscar nomination for Paul Mescal. The showcase is being backed by the U.K.’s three leading film financiers, the BFI, BBC Films and Film4), the British Council and the UK government’s GREAT campaign.
“Kneecap is produced by Jack Tarling at Mother Tongues Films and Trevor Birney of Fine Point Films, with Patrick O’Neill at Wildcard acting as co-Producer. The UK-Ireland co-production is financed by BFI (awarding National Lottery funding), Screen Ireland, Coimisiún na Meán, TG4 and Northern Ireland Screen, in association with Great Point Media and Curzon.
The movie also marks the first live-action feature of Rich Peppiatt, following his award-winning satirical documentary “One Rogue Reporter.” He also previously directed a music video for Guilty Conscience by Kneecap.
“For those who already know Kneecap as musicians, I promise this will be a film true to their hedonistic and anarchic soul. And for those who haven’t yet heard of Kneecap, well, buckle up…,” said Peppiatt.
Kneecap said “We’re buzzing to show people a side of Belfast that isn’t about guns, bombs and death. To give an insight into the youth culture that has been born out of that madness – we all needed a break from it and there’s revenge in our laughter.”
“This is the North of Ireland and the importance of culture and community in the 21st Century,” Kneecap continued.
Charades’ co-founder Carole Baraton said “Rich’s film has stood out for us from the development stage through the Mother Tongue partnership, and we are extremely proud to see it through today.”
“A showcase at the Great 8 in Cannes has always been a great gateway to the international market, we are thrilled to be part of it once again, and make the most of this political, fun and loud debut,” Baraton continued.
Birney, who is producing for Fine Point Films, said he’s been “fascinated by Kneecap and the anarchic approach they take to life. The band may cause controversy but their antics belie an intelligence that is beyond their years and an amazing ability to lyrically convey what life is like for young people growing up in post-Troubles Belfast.”
Tarling, who is producing for Mother Tongues Films, said “When we founded Mother Tongues we tried to imagine the types of projects that might get sent to us. I’m pleased to say we failed miserably to predict something as wild as Kneecap!”
Mia Bays, Director of the BFI Film Fund, said the film “unites Peppiatt’s and the band’s unique brand of humour in a raucous approach to their modern Belfast story. Curzon, meanwhile, pointed out “Kneecap are infamous for their anti-establishment outlook, near-the-knuckle humour, and puckish charm, and with this film, they have managed to bottle all of that and lobbed it up onto the big screen in U.K. cinemas.”
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