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Francesca Eastwood’s SXSW Thriller ‘M.F.A.’ Lands at Dark Sky Films

Variety logo Variety 6/8/2017 Dave McNary
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MPI Media Group has acquired all U.S. rights to Francesca Eastwood’s thriller “M.F.A.” for release this fall under its Dark Sky Films banner.

“M.F.A,” which premiered at South by Southwest in March, was directed by Natalia Leite (“Bare”) from a debut screenplay by actress Leah McKendrick (“Bad Moms”). McKendrick also co-stars along with Clifton Collins Jr. (“Westworld”).

“M.F.A.,” which was nominated for the SXSW grand jury award, follows Eastwood’s art student character, who’s forced to take action to protect herself after being 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.

Variety critic Andrew Barker described the film in his review as “an unapologetically feminist, female-centric take on the oft-problematic (and oft-male-gaze-dominated) rape-revenge thriller genre.”

Greg Newman, exec VP 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 U.S. audiences.”

Eastwood, the daughter of Clint Eastwood, also starred in the western “Outlaws and Angels,” which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

The distribution agreement was negotiated by Nicola Goelzhaeuser of MPI and Ryan Kampe of Visit Films.

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