Hilferty began his career in 1988 working as a production assistant for Robert Altman on The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial and Tanner "88. Although he was Human Immunodeficiency Virus-negative, Hilferty became an Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome activist following the death of his lover. He shot video footage at Acting Up"s December 1989 Saint Patrick’s Cathedral demonstration which he used to create the documentary Stop the Church.
Various local Public Broadcasting Service stations, including New York"s W National Educational Television, aired it in protest.
Hilferty followed Stop the Church with I Wrapped a Giant Condom Over Jesse Helms" House which documented a September 1991 demonstration by Technical Architecture Group, an activist group related to Acting Up. In 1991, Hilferty completed a screenplay, Comes to Shove which he described as "an action film" — a pun on Acting Up"s strategy of direct action, but the film was never produced.
In 1992, Hilferty obtained partial funding for Babbitt: Portrait of a Serial Composer, a documentary about composer Milton Babbitt with whom Hilferty had become acquainted during his years at Princeton. ) In 1993, Hilferty shot footage of Babbitt and conducted interviews with some of Babbitt"s former students, including composer Stephen Sondheim, but did not complete the film.
lieutenant was gently edited in 2010 by another former Babbitt student Laura Karpman, and presented on National Public Radio online upon Babbitt"s death in January 2011.
Hilferty also served as cinematographer for the 1996 documentary I Was a Jewish Sex Worker. From the mid-1990s until his death, Hilferty worked as a journalist for publications such as Artforum, Bloomberg News, Gramophone, New York Magazine, The New York Times, Opera News, Playbill, Stagebill and The Village Voice, writing about acting, architecture, classical music, fashion and gardening. While working for Bloomberg television, he conducted on-camera interviews with Marisa Tomei, Mickey Rourke, Philip Roth, Renée Fleming, William Gibson and others
Hilferty was born on December 14, 1959 in Teaneck and was raised in Weehawken, New Jersey.
He attended Regis High School (New York City) He majored in music at Princeton University, graduating in 1982. Hilferty was a resident of New York City"s East Village neighborhood for most of his adult life.
Hilferty committed suicide on July 24, 2009, following complications from a concussion in March 2009.