Politics, privilege and the darkness of history overshadow the attempts of three women to find a place in an elite New England university in Mariama Diallo’s directorial debut, Master, which lands in selected cinemas and on Prime Video this week.

The film, which had its premiere at Sundance in January, is a psychological horror which taps into the past to reflect on present day racism. It stars Support The Girls’Regina Hall as the master of the title and who, together with a first-year student and a newly appointed professor, finds herself in an unwelcoming environment, as well as seeing visions of the university’s haunted past.

Freda Cooper sat down with both Regina Hall and Mariama Diallo, and discovered why Hall felt very much at home in the film’s academic setting. The actor also gave a few hints of what to expect – or what not to expect – when she co-hosts the Oscars ceremony later in the month.

Diallo, who combined writing the script with directing, described how her own college experiences influenced the story and her feelings on her first feature getting a wide release so soon after Sundance.

Master is released in selected cinemas and on Prime Video on 18 March.