An American film taking on the controversial topic of conversion therapy has been awarded The US Grand Jury Prize, the top drama honour at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which is based on the 2012 coming-of-age novel by Emily M. Danforth, tells the story of a teenage girl named Cameron Post who is caught in a sexual encounter with the school prom queen.

Cameron is then forced into a Christian gay conversion therapy centre by her evangelical aunt and uncle, who are her legal guardians.

Directed by Desiree Akhavan and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, John Gallagher, Jr, Forrest Goodluck, Jennifer Ehle and Quinn Shephard, the film has been praised for addressing the impact of the dangerous and widely discredited practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity through “therapy.”

“On behalf of the entire Cameron Post team, we want to dedicate this to the LGBTQ survivors of sexual conversion therapy,” Moretz said in an acceptance speech in Park City, Utah.

“We just wanted to make this movie to shine a light onto the fact that it is only illegal in nine states out of the 50 states in this country to practice sexual conversion therapy.”

The film success at the festival follows a new study from the United States which estimated that nearly 80,000 LGBTI teens will receive conversion therapy in the USA.