Vito And Waters To Be Honored At Outfest

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Vito Russo photo by Massimo Consoli (1989)
Vito Russo photo by Massimo Consoli (1989) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Broadway World
VITO to Open OUTFEST: 30th Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, 7/12-22
by BWW News Desk 


Outfest – the Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing, showcasing and protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media – announced today that Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary “Vito” has been selected as the Opening Night gala of the 30th Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. “Vito” chronicles the story of Vito Russo, founding father of the gay liberation movement, author of “The Celluloid Closet,” and vociferous AIDS activist in the 1980s. The film features Lily Tomlin, Armistead Maupin, Bruce Vilanch, Richard Berkowitz and Larry Kramer.

Outfest will also present its 16th annual Achievement Award to filmmaker, author and artist John Waters. The Achievement Award is Outfest’s highest honor and is presented in recognition of a body of work that has made a significant contribution to LGBT film and media. John Waters is a filmmaker, visual artist, author, comedian, and essayist. With films ranging from the taboo-pushing PINK FLAMINGOS to the teen-dance spectacular HAIRSPRAY, Waters and his work have been unapologetically queer, championing outside values and personal expression in a world that rarely appreciates difference. The Achievement Award will be presented to Waters prior to the Opening Night Gala screening of “Vito” on Thursday, July 12 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.

“Honoring two legendary figures Vito Russo and John Waters is the perfect way to launch Outfest’s 30th anniversary,” said Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer. “Over that past three decades, Outfest has had a global impact on LGBT lives by promoting understanding, launching world-class talent and preserving our filmed history for generations to come.”

The nation’s leading LGBT film festival, and the oldest film festival in the city of Los Angeles, will be held July 12 – 22, 2012.

Waters will also be performing his show “This Filthy World: Gayer and Filthier” on July 11th in the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever. Focusing in on Waters’ early negative artistic influences and his fascination with true crime, exploitation films, fashion lunacy, and the extremes of the contemporary art world, this joyously devious monologue elevates all that is trashy in life into a call to arms to “filth followers” everywhere. Tickets for this screening are available at

As part of its 30th anniversary year, Outfest will celebrate this milestone across all of its programs by producing the best film festival to date, premiering its most significant feature film restoration and debuting an impressive youth filmmaking project, among many innovative and expanded initiatives.


A series of seminal LGBT films from the 1960’s to the 2000’s including a recreation of the first festival in 1982: QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN (1963-4), MAKING LOVE (Hill, 1982) and TAXI ZUM KLO (Ripploh, 1981). This series is supported by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


A monthly screening series taking place at the Downtown Independent Theatre, presenting new and classic films of interest to LGBT audiences.


The Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation, a partnership with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, will unveil its most significant restoration to date, arguably the earliest surviving cinematic work made explicitly about LGBT people .Thispeople. This restoration is partially funded by a grant from the Andrew J. Kuehn, Jr. Foundation.


Stories of Outfest filmmakers, volunteers and members from the last thirty years whose lives and careers have been deeply impacted by Outfest will be posted weekly on our website. Filmmakers and audiences will also have the opportunity to post their own story of how Outfest changed their lives by uploading a video to the site.

Outfest celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012 with a year-longyearlong celebration honoring the organization’s rich film history, innovative filmmakers and cultural legacy. The anniversary celebration includes the signature film festival, a major film restoration, a new logo, a new monthly screening series and a comprehensive social media campaign. Founded by volunteers on the campus of UCLA in 1982, Outfest has grown into an internationally recognized organization that works to promote LGBT equality through the arts. For three decades Outfest has brought together film lovers, artists, celebrities and entertainment industry professionals to create a world-class forum for stories that reflect and often transform LGBT lives. Outfest has showcased over 5,600 films to audiences, reaching close to one million people, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers and protected over 18,000 stories and images through the Outfest Legacy Project for LGBT Film Preservation, the only program of its kind in the world.