MATTERS MOST" OPENS THE THIRD ANNUAL WINFEMME FILM FESTIVAL,
AND PAYS TRIBUTE TO WRITER/DIRECTOR JANE CUSUMANO
Los Angeles, July 20, 2001
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 www.winfemme.com.
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