Assistant Professor of Film/Video Eliza Hittman has won the 2017 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award in the U.S. Dramatic category for her new feature film, Beach Rats, which saw its world premiere at the festival on January 23.

Beach Rats has attracted reviews and coverage in media outlets including, The New Yorker, The Guardian, IndieWire, Screen Daily, The Wrap, The Hollywood Reporter, and Daily Beast. Film distribution company Neon announced that it has acquired North American rights to the film.

The film follows a quiet, aimless teenager, Frankie, in the working-class Brooklyn neighborhoods of Sheepshead Bay and Gerritsen Beach as he navigates questions of identity and sexuality. Escaping his bleak home life, Frankie spends the summer on the beach with his delinquent friends, meeting a potential new girlfriend while secretly contacting older men online.

Beach Rats, Hittman’s second feature film, follows her award-winning debut It Felt Like Love, which premiered at Sundance in 2013 and has since been screened at festivals and venues internationally. She teaches senior studio, fiction video, and screenwriting courses at Pratt.

Hittman will be a panelist at the upcoming Pratt Presents Women of Influence in the Business of Film event that will be held on March 28 in Higgins Hall.