Credit: GTE Productions, Syncretic Entertainment, Villainess Productions

I was introduced to Francesca Eastwood through her family’s short-lived reality series Mrs. Eastwood & Company. The series gave a one-season snapshot into the Eastwood home, pitting Francesca as a bit of a wild child — one who was vocally not an aspiring actress. Fast-forward five years and Francesca is not an aspiring actress. She’s a gainfully employed one with an ever-growing resume, a part in the upcoming Twin Peaks revival, and a new film called M.F.A. that just debuted at SXSW (which is where we caught up with her).

To be totally fair, it can’t be easy to want to pursue acting when both your parents have knocked that career choice out of the park (her dad is Clint Eastwood, and her mom is actress Frances Fisher). “I was afraid for a while to say that I loved acting,” Francesca tells me during our conversation in Austin. “When both your parents have been very successful it brings a little bit of fear and self-doubt.” But after seeing her incredibly confident performance in M.F.A. we totally believe her when she says, “that doubt is gone.”

Credit: GTE Productions, Syncretic Entertainment, Villainess Productions

In M.F.A., Francesca plays Noelle, a painter in an MFA program who is raped by a fellow classmate. Her character’s response to the traumatic event is twofold: an artistic awakening and a vigilante’s desire for revenge. While rape and revenge films are an entire sub-genre unto themselves, what appealed to Francesca was Noelle’s artistic arc. “There was something there that I really related to. It was that question of what do you want to do with your life? You know that you’re an artist, and you know that you’re talented, but you’re at a block.”

In her own artistic life, Francesca seems to have broken through that block by creating. In addition to M.F.A. (which is still seeking distribution), she also has a part in the forthcoming Twin Peaks (“David Lynch is a gangster”) and an as-yet-to-be-revealed upcoming television project (“I wish I could talk about it, but that whole sworn to secrecy thing,” she says). A glance at her IMDB page shows three other projects in various stages of completion.

“I learned that I could do something like this,” Francesca says reflecting on the M.F.A. experience and perhaps foreshadowing projects to come. “I learned that me alone is powerful. I learned to trust myself a little more than before. And I learned that you can make a movie for very little money with a bunch of kids who are just really passionate.”

We have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of Francesca in the future — whether that’s on a high-profile set, or a low-budget indie project. And while her family may have left famous footprints for her to follow in, there are plenty of other women who she looks to for inspiration. “I love Bette Davis’s career and Cate Blanchett’s. I would love to be able to transform for a role,” she says. “Doing [my family’s] reality show I realized that I like privacy. I would always rather play someone else.”