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VITO Opens OUTFEST: 30th Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Now thru 7/22

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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" tonight, 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 today, July 12 through July 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 HollywoodForever.ticketfly.com.


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