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January 30, 2017

Cinereach original production Beach Rats made its world premiere last week at the Sundance Film Festival, taking home the U.S. Dramatic Directing Award for writer and director Eliza Hittman, and securing North American release through Neon.

In Beach Rats, Frankie is an aimless teenager who lives on the outer edges of Brooklyn, and he’s having a miserable summer. With his father on his deathbed and his mother wanting him to find a girlfriend, Frankie escapes the bleakness of his home life by causing trouble with his delinquent friends and flirting with older men online. When his chatting and webcamming intensifies, he finally starts hooking up with guys while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman. As Frankie struggles to reconcile his competing desires, his decisions leave him hurtling towards irreparable consequences.

These in-depth festival conversations and interviews take a close look at how Beach Rats was developed and produced:

Ann Lai, Director of Creative Producing Initiatives at Sundance Institute, moderated a great conversation with Eliza Hittman and Maggie Betts (Novitiate) on how both filmmakers approach their work, as part of the Sundance Cinema Cafe series. Video here.

Film Comment’s in-depth interview with Eliza traces the project’s evolution and details its influences, practical constraints and creative vision (read here).

In Eliza’s interview on IndieWire‘s Filmmaker Toolkit Podcast (listen here), she discusses the challenging road from her first feature It Felt Like Love to making Beach Rats.

In this Variety interview, Harris Dickinson, who makes his feature debut as Frankie, discusses his feelings about the role. His upcoming projects include Brandon Lee’s The Medium, Steve McLean’s Postcards From London, and Jennifer Yuh Nelson’s adaptation of the YA book series The Darkest Minds.

Beach Rats festival poster (above)

Prior work by Eliza Hittman includes her debut feature film, It Felt Like Love (2013), and her Sundance 2011 short film Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight, available on Vimeo.

For a recap of all eight Cinereach supported films at Sundance 2017, click here.