Press Release  

Los Angeles, July 20, 2001

"What Matters Most," the writing and directorial debut of filmmaker Jane Cusumano, is the opening night selection of the Third Annual WinFemme Film Festival, debuting on September 6, 2001 at 7:00 p.m. at The Clarity Theater, 100 Crescent Drive Network in Beverly Hills. Following the screening, the Women's Image Network (WIN) will present Pierce Brosnan with a WIN Award for his work with women with cancer in Beverly Hills. WinFemme is a Los Angeles-based film festival that selects films, (shorts, docs and features) and spotlights screenplays which all feature a female protagonist.

The opening night screening, in part, is a tribute to Jane Cusumano, the director of "What Matters Most." Jane passed away on June 1 from breast cancer, having completed her film just four weeks earlier.

Phyllis Stuart, actress, founder and president of WIN (a non-profit organization seeking to dispel industry sexism and tell important women's stories), is also founder of the WinFemme Film Festival. Ms. Stuart is very enthusiastic about opening this year's festival with "What Matters Most," and is personally committed to supporting cancer research. It is a cause close to her heart, as she recently lost her father to cancer.

"We are proud to have 'What Matters Most' headline our line-up and pay tribute to a filmmaker who created an excellent movie and did it with such courage and grace, under very, very difficult circumstances," says Stuart. "We only regret that Jane will not be with us to make more films. She was well on her way to becoming a great filmmaker as evidenced by her debut feature. In addition, screening 'What Matters Most' presents a unique opportunity for us to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research and to honor Pierce Brosnan, for his steadfast commitment to women who suffer with breast cancer. We also wish to extend a posthumous thanks to WinFemme Film Festival coordinator Inga Campbell, who helped launch the festival and who died of ovarian cancer last summer."

"It is thrilling to be part of WinFemme, especially because of its commitment to bolstering the status of women in film," notes Jim Cusumano, Jane's husband and executive producer of "What Matters Most." "WinFemme has done so much in the past three years to showcase women's captivating stories and spotlight the filmmakers and writers who bring them to life. These films are sometimes thought of by movie execs as 'soft,' and can face significant challenges in today's studio system. Yet, some of these same films, such as 'The Piano,' 'Hilary & Jackie,' and 'The English Patient,' are often the ones that capture the hearts and souls of audiences around the world. I am so proud that Jane will be a part of all of this."

WinFemme Festival Director Stuart, meanwhile, has dedicated herself over the past three years to selecting and showcasing a wide range of diverse films that both sell and garner awards. WinFemme films have sold to the Sundance Channel and Showtime, and several films have captured Oscar and Spirit Award nods. Daily Variety describes WinFemme as "a fountainhead of future filmmaker luminaries."

"WinFemme prides itself on its strong lineup of quality films," says Stuart, "Our films' heroines run from age six to seventy and overcome obstacles ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous: from beguiling a local parish priest (in the film "Heavenly Host"), to sorting out phantoms from fantasies (in the film "Dying Light"), or to becoming a world-class athlete in her fifties (in the film "Judy's Time"). There is certainly something for everyone at this year's WinFemme Film Festival."

And this September, "What Matters Most" will become a part of this important tradition.

To learn more about WinFemme Film Festival and get tickets call them at
310-229-5365 or visit their website

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