Sunday, May 20, 2012 @ 7pm
Director Jeffrey Schwarz in attendance
We are thrilled to bring you the long-awaited documentary about Vito Russo as our Closing
Night film. Russo was one of the most articulate, charismatic voices for gay rights since
the early Gay Liberation days in 1970s New York. His parallel passions for cinema and
gay rights came together in the book The Celluloid Closet, a groundbreaking study of gay
and lesbian imagery and themes in film that remains a landmark in the field, and which
subsequently became a major documentary film. As one of the founders of GLAAD, Russo
led the charge in demanding an end to homophobic portrayals of gays and lesbians in the
media. As AIDS engulfed the gay community, Russo became one of the most ferocious
critics of the Reagan administration’s response to the epidemic and a tireless advocate for
people with AIDS.
Jeffrey Schwarz’s comprehensive and moving film tells Russo’s story through the voices
of many of his friends and colleagues, among them Lily Tomlin, Armistead Maupin, Felice
Picano and Larry Kramer. Intimate interviews with family members evoke a touching
picture of Russo’s parents’ gradual embrace of everything he stood for. The epic nature of
Russo’s place in a turbulent history is dynamically captured in a wealth of archival material.
VITO captures the essence of this remarkable man whose courage and wisdom will be
celebrated for generations to come.
VITO: Dir Jeffrey Schwarz 2011 USA 93 min.
Community Partners: Cascade AIDS Project, Our House of Portland, Equity Foundation