Interview with Director Natalia Leite | 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 HERE.

M.F.A. is director Natalia Leite’s follow-up to her debut feature, Bare. Written by Leah McKendrick, M.F.A. is a psychological thriller by structure, while offering a palette with which Leite and her team can explore deeper themes of campus sexual assault, the PTSD victims often succumb to after their trauma, advocacy, and even the discrepancies of consent. Francesca Eastwood maneuvers the many facets of Noelle with breathless ease and determination, and by the film’s conclusion, the audience is spurred into discussion.

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 distribution.

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

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In M.F.A., Noelle (Francesca Eastwood) is a college art student who endures a vicious rape on campus. After tragedy befalls her attacker, she sets out in pursuit of justice for other victims whose aggressor has gone without punishment. Along the way, Noelle discovers a vision and an inner strength she never knew existed.

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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'.