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By Film Threat Staff | October 16, 2001

The San Francisco Independent Film Festival (aka SF IndieFest) will present a new series of feature films by women called WOMEN+INDEPENDENT+FILM October 18-21, 2001. The four day program will include a dinner/dance/screening, the local premiere of WHAT MATTERS MOST, a feature film by Palo Alto native Jane Cusumano, and a selection of some of the best films by women that SF IndieFest has presented in their most recent programs. All proceeds benefit the efforts of The Breast Cancer Fund and The SF IndieFest.
WHAT MATTERS MOST was the final achievement of filmmaker Jane Cusumano. This Palo Alto native lost her struggle with breast cancer just four weeks after completing this film. Her production company is touring the film around the country to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer and to promote the Jane-Finish-Your-Film-Fund, an annual $5000 scholarship for filmmakers in post production.
The Bay Area premiere screening of WHAT MATTERS MOST will take place Friday, October 19 at 8pm at the Delancey Theater, 600 Embarcadero. The film will be preceded by a short heartfelt documentary on the making of WHAT MATTERS MOST and will be followed by a Q&A with cast and crew and a dessert and cocktail reception.
WHAT MATTERS MOST is a Romeo and Juilet-styled story set in a one-horse Texas town. Starring Chad Allen (Dr. Quinn Medicine Women), Polly Cusumano (MTV, ER), Marshall Teague (Armageddon, The Rock) and Gretchen German (Will & Grace, Wings) the film provides a unique look at two teenagers in a small town who reach for each other from opposite sides of the tracks. The duo perseveres through parental and societal adversity, and forge their own path, proving to everyone around them that love is really WHAT MATTERS MOST.
The WOMEN+INDEPENDENT+FILM series continues Saturday, October 20 at the Delancey Theater with a 7pm screening of FALLING LIKE THIS, the recent Opening Night Film of IndieFest’s Digital Underground program this past July. Also about two youngsters, Dani Minnick’s film, set in the early ’80s in Southern California, is a touching (and tragic) tale of a young woman who falls for an irresistible teenage outlaw. It is an all-too-rare portrayal of the indelible impressions young lovers make on each other’s lives, and the lives of those around them. Incredibly honest performances (particularly from the two young leads) highlight Minnick’s provocative feature debut. The story of Katie and Boyd will stay with you long after the house lights come up. Ani Di Franco provides the soundtrack.
Following Minnick’s film Saturday night is EAST OF A screening at 9pm. This was one of the many films to sell out its appearances at last January’s San Francisco Independent Film Festival. The story spans the era from 1985, the year of New Coke, to 1995, the year of OJ’s acquittal. Three sharp-tongued East Village housemates are locked into uneasy cohabitation in a coveted New York rent-controlled loft. From cocaine addictions to gym addictions, from pot to Prozac, our disfunctional trio and their perpetually under-furnished home play host to a terrific cast of just-passing-through boy-and-girlfriends (Camryn Manheim, David Alan Grier and Adam Arkin to name a few). Careening through career success and failure, the joys and pitfalls of love, the constant specter of AIDS and, finally, a semblance of real family, it’s an hilarious and bittersweet paean to the ebb and flow of friendship and long-term leases.
The program on Sunday, October 21 begins with a repeat matinee screening of WHAT MATTERS MOST at 4:30pm. This is followed at 7pm by the Opening Night Film of SF IndieFest’s Documentary Festival (SF DocFest), which debuted this past spring. Jessica Villines’ PLASTER CASTER presents an intimate portrait of legendary artist and groupie, Cynthia Plaster Caster, world reknown for plaster-casting the penises of rock and roll’s finest, including, most notoriously, Jimi Hendrix. In addition to providing a history of Cynthia’s pursuits, the film documents the castings of two musicians, one shy, the other extroverted; also highlighted are the maddening preparations for her first gallery show in New York city. The film features candid interviews from rock stars, most of whom she has cast over the years (Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Jello Biafra of The Dead Kennedys, Jon Langford of the Mekons, and Wayne Kramer of the MC5 to name just a few). PLASTER CASTER goes beyond the mythology to ask the penetrating question “Is this really art?”
The closing film of the program, screening at 9pm Sunday night, is Esther Bell’s GODASS, one of the many features presented at the first Digital Underground Festival last summer. A digital feature with a classic punk spirit, GODASS is a dark coming-of-age comedy about how having a gay father can be the least of a girl’s problems. GODASS follows Teri’s flight from her unbalanced family and secluded punk-rock circle in South Carolina to New York, where she is determined to bring her zine to a more sympathetic audience. But the Big Apple is also home of her estranged father. In meeting him, Teri discovers that the secret to confronting her troubled young life is interlocked in understanding her gay father. Starring Fred Schneider (of the B-52s) and Julianne Nicholson, with Anna Grace (Girlstown, I Shot Andy Warhol), Tina Holmes (Edge of Seventeen) and David Ilku (Liquid Sky), with cameos from underground filmmakers Bill Plympton and Sarah Jacobson, and a soundtrack by Lunachicks, Sleepyhead, Hammerbrain and many more.
Get more info by calling 415-820-3907 or visit the SF Indiefest web site.
Check out’s FILM FESTIVAL ARCHIVES for more fest news!

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