Interview with Director Natalia Leite and Writer Leah McKendrick | M.F.A.

M.F.A. follows Francesca Eastwood’s Noelle, a shy college art student. Attending a campus party, Noelle is raped by a suitor and her life is irrevocably altered. Finding no solace within the school or her friends, she confronts her attacker with tragic results. Noelle is horrified, yet there is something of a tangible relief in knowing that justice has effectively been served. As she summons an emerging strength within, Noelle follows a new path as an avenger of sorts. A vigilante who can punish those who have so casually destroyed lives like hers, all while a detective (Clifton Collins Jr.) nips at her heels. You can read our full review on the film HERE.

As M.F.A. arrives on VOD and select theaters, we encourage you to seek out the film as it is one of the highlights of the year. In addition to an absolutely captivating performance from Francesca Eastwood, M.F.A. also places the spotlight firmly on the talent of the two women behind the camera; director Natalia Leite and writer Leah McKendrick.

Earlier this year we had the pleasure of speaking with both Natalia and Leah and, instead of combing through the archives, we wanted to ensure you could listen to our exclusive interview with each of these artists in one location. Below you will find our discussions with Natalia and Leah, and you will not want to miss either of these riveting conversations. And definitely do not miss M.F.A. as it rolls out nationwide.

M.F.A. is director Natalia Leite’s follow-up to her debut feature, Bare. For our exclusive interview with Natalia, we discuss a wide array of topics. Beginning with her first realization that filmmaking was in her future, we lead into the more complicated aspects of Natalia’s film, sexual assault treated as a plot device in modern film, production woes, and what she hopes to accomplish once M.F.A. reaches its audience.

You can find more on Natalia and her work at, and on the film at

Play in new window |Download

M.F.A. is screenwriter and producer Leah McKendrick’s first feature film, as she continues her quest to build her resume with personal projects. For this exclusive interview, Aaron sits down with Leah to discuss her path to Hollywood as an actress, struggles within the industry, and creating her own opportunities in Hollywood. The conversation then turns to M.F.A. and why this film was such a personal story for Leah, the journey to get the film made, and what she hopes her thoughtful revenge story can accomplish on the topic of rape and sexual assault debates.

You can find more on Leah and her work at and the film itself at

Play in new window | Download

Listen and Subscribe for FREE to The Hollywood Outsider Movie and TV Podcast at:

spotify 1

apple app store logo

google play

i heart radio logo red

About Aaron B. Peterson

The Hollywood Outsider was born in an attempt to discuss a myriad of genres, while also serving as a sounding board for the ‘Average Joe’ – those film buffs who can appreciate Taxi Driver just as much as Transformers – without an ounce of pretentiousness. I try to approach each film on its own merits, and through the eyes the filmmakers intended. Enjoy yourself. Be unique. Most importantly, 'Buy Popcorn'.