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Desperately Seeking Studio: Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love

Despite the accolades (awards, festival prizes, and critical praise), sometimes a film that we’ve praised and seemingly has a very bright future ahead, will somehow be passed over, go unnoticed or for reasons unknown, may have fallen through the cracks. A play of words on the 1985 Madonna film, “Desperately Seeking Studio” is our way of bringing attention to a film that has yet to be picked up for distribution and deservingly should find an audience. This month we put the focus back on: Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love

Having previously worked on a short per year pace with 2011’s Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight (see trailer) premiering at Redford’s stoically set winter Park City fest, it was a second invite to this year’s edition of Sundance Film Festival and the added international clout of showing at Int. Film Festival Rotterdam that set Eliza Hittman’s feature length debut on the right footing. I discovered It Felt Like Love a little late in the fest, it resonated so vividly that we had plenty to say about the film’s young lead in Gina Piersanti, and even more praise for the film’s writer/director calling her “a filmmaking force to reckon with”. This notion of a talented new filmmaker  arriving on the indie scene is more or less expressed with the same vote of confidence from THR’s John Defore (read his review) and in Variety, where the trade were extra complimentary in mentioning (read review) that the experience and quality is close to that of Lynne Ramsay’s “Ratcatcher” and Cate Shortland’s “Somersault.”

While distributors have been slow to act, the feted drama (winner of the Special Jury Prize in Sarasota Film Festival) has been shown at U.S. indie fests such as Nashville and BAMcinemaFest and internationally among others, at the Munich Film Festival and the Champs-Élysées Film Festival. And speaking of the French, naturally they saw the potential in the film – KMBO Distrbution released the film in theaters mid July.

A 2013 member of Filmmaker Magazine 25 New Faces of Independent Film mentions they’re working towards a release later in the year, but perhaps with tomorrow’s inaugural Next Weekend debuting, we can throw more oil on the fire.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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