Trailer for the documentary Vito.
The documentary features rich archival interviews with Vito, as well as insights from gay rights activists, including: Larry Kramer and Arthur Evans; film scholars, among them former MoMA film curator Jon Gartenberg; and journalists/writers such as Michael Schiavi and Gabriel Rotello. VITO also offers personal accounts from his many friends, including Lily Tomlin and Bruce Vilanch, and his family members, including brother Charles Russo and cousin Phyllis Antonellis.
Raised in the Italian neighborhoods of East Harlem, Vito's family moved to suburban New Jersey in the 1960s, which he hated. At 18, Vito moved back to New York City, where he was enthralled with the sexuality and positive energy of gay liberation. He progressed to activism, and as Marsha P. Johnson, a transgendered gay rights activist states, 'the energy became channeled into organizations.'
Vito was one of the pivotal players in many of these gay rights organizations during their formative years. He was an early member of GAA (Gay Activists Alliance), whose goal was to secure basic human rights, dignity and freedom for all gay people. He was one of the co-founders of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), which was formed to ensure that media representation of gays and lesbians was accurate. Towards the end of his life, he was one of the founders of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), a guerilla activist group whose goal was to bring legislation, medical research, treatment and policies to ultimately eradicate the AIDS epidemic.