By Ray Pride

Variance Films to release Eliza Hittman’s Sundance favorite IT FELT LIKE LOVE

New York, November 25, 2013 – Variance Films announced today that it has acquired US theatrical rights to IT FELT LIKE LOVE, Eliza Hittman’s debut feature, for an early 2014 theatrical release.

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.

Debuting at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the film has gone on to a robust festival run including stops at Rotterdam, BAMcinemaFEST, London BFI, Maryland, Viennale, Melbourne and more.  The film was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Sarasota Film Festival, and Gina Piersanti won the prize for Best Actress at the Nashville Film Festival.

“Variance Films, by allowing films to bypass the traditional model of distribution, is transforming the landscape of indie film in favor of the filmmaker,” said Eliza Hittman, writer/director of IT FELT LIKE LOVE, who was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film for 2013.

“What Eliza and her cast have done here is the definition of groundbreaking. The ‘male gaze’ that pervades films like this is not only subverted, but completely turned around on itself,” said Variance Films founder Dylan Marchetti. “The performances and tone on display here are stunning, and we’re honored to be able to help Eliza get her film out to the audiences that I suspect are eagerly awaiting it.”

IT FELT LIKE LOVE was written and directed by Eliza Hittman, stars Gina Piersanti, Giovanna Salimeni, and Ronen Rubinstein, features cinematography by Sean Porter, and was produced by Hittman, Shrihari Sathe, and Laura Wagner. The film was executive produced by Tyler Brodie, Hunter Gray, and Gill Holland.


Founded in 2008, Variance partners with leading independent filmmakers to distribute the most exciting independent films to theaters across the US and Canada, using innovative release strategies that focus on collaborative, grassroots marketing tactics to drive audiences to theaters.   Recent and upcoming releases include John Sayles’ GO FOR SISTERS, Roger Ross Williams’ GOD LOVES UGANDA, Dave Grohl’s SOUND CITY, Spike Lee’s RED HOOK SUMMER, John Sayles’ AMIGO, Johnnie To’s DRUG WAR, and Terence Nance’s AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY.  For more information, please visit

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon