Pay cabler HBO will debut VITO, the documentary on the life of gay activist Vito Russo, on Monday, July 23 at 9PM.

VITO, which had its world premiere at the 2011 New York Film Festival and will open the 2012 Outfest Film Festival in Los Angeles on July 12, documents the life of Vito Russo, one of the most outspoken and inspiring gay rights activists.

Award-winning director Jeffrey Schwarz (Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon) uses period footage and interviews with Russo to paint a touching portrait of the activist.

“If you're going to talk about the gay-rights movement, you're going to talk about Vito,” said journalist David Ehrenstein.

Russo was an early member of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA), a co-founder of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and a co-founder of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP).

Featured in the film are gay rights activists Larry Kramer and Arthur Evans; film scholar Jon Gartenberg; and writers Michael Schiavi and Gabriel Rotello. VITO also offers personal accounts from friends Lily Tomlin and Bruce Vilanch. (A trailer for the film is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)