Friday, September 10, 2010

Vito After screening in filmmaker's L.I. hometown on Sept 11th as it premieres in London on same day


September 10, 2010 (Syosset, NY) – VITO AFTER (aka: Vito After: A 9/11 Responder Copes in the Aftermath), an award-winning documentary, will be screening in the filmmaker’s hometown to honor the anniversary of September 11th.  Director/producer/ writer Maria Pusateri and former NYPD detective Vito Friscia—the main subject of the film and Pusateri’s brother-in-law—will be attending for a Q&A session following the screening, at the Syosset Library at 2:00pm. The film will also make its international theatrical premiere at London’s FD4W Film Festival (Film Directing For Women) earlier that day.

Pusateri is delighted to be sharing the film with her local community and happy that Vito will be speaking with her there and at upcoming screenings on Long Island and in NYC (see schedule below): “Vito hasn’t attended many screenings in the past. This will be the first time he’ll be at Long Island showings, which is great since he lives on the Island and local audiences look forward to meeting him.”

The documentary was a hit this Tuesday in Hewlett, NY; and the audience thoroughly enjoyed talking to Vito and had many questions for him. “It’s always so rewarding to see your film really connect with an audience and get such a fantastic response,” says Pusateri.  News12 LI covered the event, interviewing Vito and the filmmaker who said she thought “Vito handled it ‘like a pro’. It definitely was good for him to be talking about it again.”

Although the first-time filmmaker could not get to London for the film’s screening on the same day, she is thrilled VITO AFTER was selected to be shown in FD4W’s inaugural festival, noting there are too few film festivals celebrating women filmmakers. She is also thankful her film is screening in London on September 11th, a fitting commemoration to honor all those who died on that fateful day—including 67 Britons, and so many others from around the world.  

For Pusateri, these screenings also represent a tribute to the thousands of 9/11 responders, volunteers and others from all over the country who are still suffering, or who have died, from 9/11-related illnesses. “The film remains as relevant today as when it began screening at film festivals in 2005,” says Pusateri, “Perhaps even more so—unfortunately, because of the ongoing and growing health crisis from World Trade Center toxic dust exposures.” 

Maria is cautiously optimistic that the 9/11 Health Bill will, finally, be passed, and appreciates President Obama’s recent push for the bill to go through; but, like so many others, has been frustrated at the incomprehensibility of why it has taken this long. “The responders deserve better; and as Vito said, ‘it's a disgrace’ that they’ve had to fight for the past nine years to get the help they need," she says. "Thankfully, Vito isn’t as ill as those suffering from devastating 9/11-related illnesses. However, thousands of people like him are still coping with 9/11-related ailments; and although their conditions may not be very serious now, it’s like they’re 'waiting for the other shoe to drop'–wondering whether their conditions will worsen, if they’ll develop a life-threatening illness, or may die.”  Pusateri added, “Tragically, there is a huge second wave of 9/11 victims, not only these responders, but also thousands of non-responders who are ill and dying—including volunteers, local residents and office workers, even some children.”  

Pusateri hopes her film will help bring greater awareness to the plight of the 9/11 responders: “People should not forget, the rescue and recovery workers worked tirelessly, under daunting conditions, sacrificing their safety, their emotional and physical health—and their lives, to help bring closure to victims’ families. They are truly unsung heroes.” 
VITO AFTER takes a vital look at the emotional impact of 9/11 and the emerging health crisis by going beyond the headlines and focusing on one NYPD detective's personal struggle. Vito Friscia, a dedicated homicide detective and devoted family man, selflessly helped others on September 11th, and then spent months sifting through toxic rubble hoping to bring closure to victims’ families. The film follows Friscia for almost two years as he copes in the aftermath, with the support of loved ones and colleagues. This intimate portrait of an everyday hero reveals a powerful renewal of the human spirit and insight into the lives of thousands of responders who are paying an emotional and physical price for their bravery. rated the film four stars, calling it, "An intriguing and powerful documentary that uses one man's story to personalize the devastating aftermath from [9/11]."  Vito After was chosen to be part of the 9/11 film collection in the library of the USS NEW YORK, the battleship forged with steel from the World Trade Center. The film has been an official selection at numerous film festivals in the United States over the past five years, including the Vermont International, Rochester High Falls, and Global Peace Film Festivals; VITO AFTER received the Best Documentary Award at the Long Island Film Expo in 2006.

For additional information about VITO AFTER and to view trailers, visit

FOR PRESS/MEDIA: Ms. Pusateri and Mr. Friscia are available for interviews. DVD and high-res images available upon request.

Maria Pusateri is the writer/director/producer/executive producer of Vito After. Maria has worked in various aspects of television and film production and publicity; and she has also performed as an actress.  Pusateri’s passion and vision for filmmaking—exploration of people's intimate worlds through the social issues impacting their lives, was inspired by witnessing her brother-in-law’s emotional trauma and health issues, and wanting to bring greater awareness to the problems faced by 9/11 rescue and recovery workers.

Prior to creating her debut documentary, Vito After, Maria was an associate producer at Cablevision for MetroTV’s Unblinking Eye, where she earned several Omni and Communicator Awards, plus a New York Emmy nomination for Programming About the Arts. The nomination was for Food For Thought, a play reading series featuring Elaine Stritch, Judith Light and John Shea, among others. Pusateri created over 40 shows for Unblinking Eye, covering cultural arts events in and around New York City, from literary arts to music and film. Her work included producing, directing and conducting interviews, ranging from man-on-the street to celebrities, such as Harrison Ford, Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara. Pusateri also directed and produced lifestyle segments, shopping tips and film reviews for the channel. Maria’s film production credits include wearing many hats on the sets of the short "Kung Fu Granny," and "Split Ends," a feature film directed by Dorothy Lyman.

Ms. Pusateri is a programmer for New York Women in Film and Television’s (NYWIFT) film series and has served on their documentary committee. Pusateri is developing her next documentary project and works freelance in TV production and P/R.

VITO AFTER September / October Screenings
(with Filmmaker Maria Pusateri & Vito Friscia attending for Q&A, unless otherwise noted):

Syosset Public Library: Saturday, September 11th, 2:00pm
Long Beach Public Library: Monday, September 13th, 2:00pm* (no Q&A, Pusateri & Friscia not attending)
Long Beach Public Library: Monday, September 20th, 7:00pm
Anthology Film Archives, NYC (NYWIFT screening): Tuesday, September 28th, 7:00pm

LONDON screening:  Lost Theatre - 208 Wandsworth Rd, London, SW8 2JU,  Saturday, September 11th, 10:30am
(Unfortunately, the FD4W Film Festival website has been down due to a virus, so no link can be given at this time.)