An Irish-language film Kneecap, the story of the Belfast rap trio of the same name, is to be released in North America and other major markets around the world.
It tells the story of how the group formed in post-Agreement Belfast and the Irish language’s “resurgence” against the establishment.
It also marks the first time an Irish language film has screened at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
The controversial group drew headlines by travelling to the premiere from the nearby city of Provo in a fake PSNI Land Rover. It recalled an incident in 2017 when they unveiled a mural in west Belfast showing a burning PSNI vehicle ahead of their performance at that year’s Féile an Phobail in Falls Park.
The mural sparked condemnation by unionist politicians, but the group insisted it was “just a bit of art”. Band member Moglaí Bap said at the time: “Anti-police sentiment has been long-standing in the hip-hop community. This isn’t new. We didn’t burn a police Land Rover, we painted one.”
And a former British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers has been criticised for complaining about the use of public money to fund the film. DUP MP Ian Paisley, his party’s culture spokesperson, was also said to be “appalled” that the film had received public funding and accused Kneecap of “rewriting and glorifying” the armed struggle of the Provisional IRA.
Posting on X, the band responded by saying: “You can inform the DUP that we will put on a private screening for them in Belfast, in an Orange lodge of their choice. We will send popcorn and fizzy drinks too, all on us. Grá mor [big love].”
West Belfast Assembly member Gerry Carroll defended his constituents and said Villiers had “a cheek to lecture anyone on public services and price rises”.
“Art is supposed to draw opinion by its very nature, but people should pay no heed to the former secretary of state’s posturing,” he said.
“Britain’s ruling elite have no business condemning young people in areas like west Belfast, which were decimated by its military.”