Interview with Screenwriter, Producer and Actor 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.

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

Look for the film to release this October. Read Aaron’s review HERE.

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An art student taps into a rich source of creative inspiration after the accidental slaughter of her rapist. An unlikely vigilante emerges, set out to avenge college girls whose attackers walked free- all the while fueling a vivid thesis exhibition.

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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'.