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‘M.F.A.’ (Fantasia Film Festival review)

Produced by Shin Shimosawa, Leah McKendrick
Written by Leah Mckendrick
Directed by Natalia Leite 
Starring Francesca Eastwood, Leah McKendrick,
Peter Vack, Clifton Collins Jr., Marlon Young,
David Sullivan, Michael Welch, Mike C. Manning
A Fantasia Film Festival Selection


Noelle is a socially awkward introverted art student attempting to come out of her shell. When she accepts an invitation to a party from a guy in one of her classes Noelle hopes to have a fun evening, but when he sexually assaults her it turns into a horrific ordeal.

After realizing that the school’s counselors will do little to nothing about what happened Noelle decides to confront her attacker and in the encounter he accidentally falls over a railing to his death.

With little attention paid to her and no suspicion shown toward Noelle over her attacker’s death she turns to her art as an outlet.

But soon after the incident Noelle becomes driven to avenge girls whose assaults went unpunished and soon finds herself researching other attacks who’s perpetrators were unfairly let go or not prosecuted.

M.F.A. is a solid thriller with a compelling and unfortunately believable story. Writer Leah McKendrick and director Natalia Leite have devised a strong narrative shot in a practical fashion that solidifies the realistic nature of the narrative and actions while pulling the viewer in. On top of that the cast are all great, but Francesca Eastwood (daughter of Clint) stands out as her performance is full of the awkward nuance and mannerisms. The small actions and expressions that let you believe Noelle is at first introverted and later focused on a “mission” which most actors would forgo for a more outward performance.

I’m not sure what the release plans are for M.F.A. but I urge anyone interested in horror, thriller, or gritty crime films to add M.F.A. to your must see list and bump it to the top.

M.F.A. is an entertaining film about an important subject and should be seen by as many people as possible. M.F.A. is more than a just an emotionally gripping thriller, it is a rape revenge film for the post Hunting Ground (2015) world.



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