MPI Media Group announced today that it has acquired all rights in the U.S. to M.F.A., a critically acclaimed powerful thriller starring Francesca Eastwood in a stand out role. The film, from female director and female screenwriter, takes on the searing current issue of sexual violence on campus. M.F.A will be released domestically this fall under the company’s Dark Sky Films banner.
The distribution agreement was negotiated by Nicola Goelzhaeuser, MPI’s VP of Digital and International Sales, and Ryan Kampe, President of New York-based worldwide film sales company Visit Films. The deal covers U.S. theatrical and digital rights.
Greg Newman, Executive Vice President of Dark Sky Films, said, “M.F.A. is a bold new film in which Francesca Eastwood gives an absolute break-out performance. We’re happy to continue our support of the growing body of work by visionary female filmmakers by bringing M.F.A. to US audiences.”
M.F.A., which was nominated for the Grand Jury Award at the 2017 SXSW festival, tells a gripping story of a young woman forced to take action to protect herself in “perhaps the bravest, rawest rape-revenge thriller yet” (No Film School). Noelle (Francesca Eastwood, Final Girl, Outlaws and Angels), an art student struggling to find her voice, is sexually assaulted by a fellow classmate. Attempting to cope with her trauma, she impulsively confronts her attacker, leading to a violent altercation that culminates in his accidental death.
Noelle tries to return to normalcy, but when she discovers she is only one of many silenced sexual assault survivors on campus, she takes justice into her own hands. A vigilante is born – retribution is the inspiration she’s been waiting for.
M.F.A. was directed by Natalia Leite (Bare) from a debut screenplay by actress Leah McKendrick (Bad Moms). McKendrick also co-stars in the film along with Clifton Collins Jr. (Westworld, Knight of Cups).
Francesca Eastwood has been singled out for extraordinary praise. Kate Erbland of IndieWire said, “Eastwood harnesses the kind of tenacity she’s previously displayed … adding rich emotional layers to a demanding role.” “Francesca Eastwood gives a stirring, sterling performance, transforming from a wallflower into a dynamic powerhouse,” wrote Peter Martin at Screen Anarchy. “Eastwood’s performance is something out of this world,” said Dread Central‘s Jonathan Barkan.
The film received glowing reviews upon its world premiere at SXSW. Variety’s Andrew Barker said, “An unapologetically feminist, female-centric take on the oft-problematic (and oft-male-gaze-dominated) rape-revenge thriller genre … Leite directs with a bracing, assertive style.” Brad Miska of Bloody Disgusting called it “intensely engaging, thought-provoking, and also mesmerizing.” “Spectacular, risky and wonderfully realized by Natalia Leite,” said We Live Entertainment’s Nick Casaletto.