“Vito” is a must-see on HBO tonight!
I attended a wonderful Q&A yesterday at Outfest with Jeffrey Schwarz, the director of the superb documentary, Vito, which will premiere tonight on HBO at 9 p.m.
(I’ll have more from that Q&A tomorrow)
Vito was the opening night movie for Outfest and I’m so glad everyone else will be able to see it starting tonight.
Here’s a synopsis: In the aftermath of Stonewall, a newly politicized Vito Russo found his voice as a gay activist and critic of LGBT representation in the media. He went on to write The Celluloid Closet, the first book to critique Hollywood’s portrayals of gays on screen. During the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, Vito became a passionate advocate for justice via the newly formed ACT UP, before his death in 1990.
Schwarz is the ideal force to be behind this movie. He had read Russo’s book The Celluloid Closet and became an intern when the book was being made into a documentary.
“I think he touched everyone in some way – even people he never met because we’re living his vision of the world,” Schwarz said Sunday.
The director began thinking about doing the documentary six years ago.
“I started thinking about Vito and how fewer and fewer people knew who he was,” Schwarz said. “I felt like his memory was standing to fade.”
He describes Russo’s life as an “epic saga” which is “a way to tell the story of [the LGBT] community” because for a 20 year period, Russo was at the forefront of every significant aspect of the gay civil rights movement.
“I just became more and more impressed with him as time went on,” Schwarz said. “This movie needed to be made.”