LA’s Outfest is one of the biggest and best LGBT film festivals in the world. This year it celebrates its 30th Anniversary with 143 films from 24 different countries along with exciting panels and parties. It’s now been announced the film will get its opening night gala, Vito, while John Waters will receive Outfest’s Achievement Award at the event.
Jeffrey Schwarz’s Vito is a documentary about Vito Russo, who was one of the founding father of the gay liberation movement and a vociferous AIDS activist in the 1980s. He’s probably best known as the author of The Celluloid Closet, about Hollywood’s treatment of gay characters over the years, a book he used to highlight the intolerance ingrained in American culture. During the 80s AIDS crisis, he helped found ACT UP – the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power – which was instrumental in changing attitudes to the disease and empowering gay people to fight for justice. Russo died from AIDS-related complications in 1990. He was an incredible person and more than deserves a film biography.
John Waters meanwhile is, of course, the underground filmmaker whose 70s films such as Mondo Trasho and Pink Flamingos offered a camp, in-your-face gay sensibility when films made from an overtly LGBT perspective were almost non-existent. He went on to helm camp classics such as Hairspray and Serial Mom, and has been an inspiration to generations of indie filmmakers – gay and straight – for showing that you can make films from a very individual perspective that pay no attention to either Hollywood mores or the art film world.
It should be a great Outfest event and it make us sad we won’t be in LA on July 12th, 2012 to see it! The rest of the festival’s line-up is announced June 4th, so make sure you head over to the Outfest website then to see what’s on.