Gina Piersanti in "It Felt Like Love"
Gina Piersanti in "It Felt Like Love"

Variance Films has snapped up US theatrical rights to first-time feature filmmaker Eliza Hittman's coming-of-age film "It Felt Like Love." They are planning an early 2014 theatrical release.

The title has had a robust festival run, premiering at Sundance this past January and going on to play Rotterdam, BAMCinemaFEST, London BFI and the Viennale. It was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival, and teenage lead Gina Piersanti won the Best Actress award at the Nashville Film Festival.

Here's the official synopsis:

IT FELT LIKE LOVE tells the story of Lila (Gina Piersanti in a stunning debut), a fourteen-year-old spending a hot summer in a blue-collar Brooklyn neighborhood far removed from the bustling city.  Awkward, lonely, and often playing the third wheel, Lila is determined to emulate the sexual exploits of her more experienced best friend.  She fixates on Sammy, a tough older guy, when she hears that "he'll sleep with anyone."  Deluded in her romantic pursuit, Lila tries desperately to insert herself into Sammy’s gritty world, but in doing so she puts herself into a dangerously vulnerable situation.  

The film, written as well as helmed by Hittman (who, earlier this year, made Filmmaker Magazine's 25 New Faces of Independent Film), stars Piersanti, Giovanna Salimeni, and Ronen Rubinstein. Lensing is by cinematographer Sean Porter. No trailer yet, but below is a video feature for Sundance's NEXT Weekend festival, inaugurated this past August, interviewing Hittman: