The finished product will run at least an hour, which is a public television requirement. The filmmakers are mulling a longer version on DVD. The film will include musicians from both Toledos. David and Washing were impressed by what they term Folk Spanish music. It is heavily Celtic influenced as it originates from Spain’s Galicia region, which has often been compared to Ireland.
What will a typical segment on an artist in the film depict? David says they will not be too long. “We ask a few questions, pick a location—usually in their studio and film them at work.
“These are works in progress. That’s why we show the artists’ work process. We ask them more about their lives in the city, the relationship of their work to the city, how the city influences their life. We ask them to pick their favorite spot in the city. That’s usually a corner in the middle of the old city,” says David.
“We want to depict the relationship of art to society. We want to show how cultural exchange benefits the city and its citizens, and show how art in general is beneficial to people,” he adds.
A major coup for the filmmakers came in February when the president of the Association of Two Toledos told them the Toledo Diocesan Choir was coming to Toledo, Spain. “We met with the choir director in March, and we knew we had to be back there by June 19 when the choir would be performing,” recalls Washing.
“We were able to film them in a great performance. We spent two days with them, attending their concert and going to dinner and to their official reception by the mayor. We couldn’t film their Sunday mass at 11 [ante meridiem], but we were supplied with tape of it, TV quality, for the DVD. We were able to film their evening performance at another church. It was standing room only,” says David.
Washing said there were about 25 people from Toledo in the contingent.
“We also received a lot of help from Russell Brown, the son of Russell G.C. Brown, a Spanish teacher at Waite and DeVilbiss high schools, who was one of the original founders of the Committee on Relations with Toledo, Spain.
“He had, and shared, a lot of first-hand knowledge of how the Association developed over the years. He has gone back and forth to Toledo, Spain since the 1960s. A professor of Spanish at Muskingum College, he has taken a group of students over to Spain every summer. He has just retired, so this year was his last trip,” says Washing.
David and Washing estimate they will spend two months shooting the Toledo, Ohio segments and finish editing the film in December or January for its premiere next May.
Which sister city will actually see it first at the world premiere? The filmmakers aren’t sure yet. They hope to bring over some of the Toledo, Spain artists for the premiere showing.
David and Washing have formed a production company they’ve named Above the Shop Studios. They originally had planned to build a film studio above the David family’s sandwich shop on Broadway. The upstairs space is now the headquarters for an organization of Toledo filmmakers, and David and Washing hope to be able to provide film editing space to the burgeoning Toledo film community.
“When we started, we were told by some people that no one would want to see a film about Toledo. Now here we are doing it,” says David.
Editor’s Note: According to the University of Toledo’s web site [http://library.utoledo.edu/canaday/mssguide/mss-071.html], the history of the Association of Two Toledos: “began in the 1920s when the University of Toledo President, Dr. Henry Doermann, visited Spain as an affiliate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and History in Toledo, Spain. [The photographs taken by Dr. Doermann of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabel’s coat of arms inspired the University of Toledo’s official seal.]
“At the same time, Russell G.C. Brown, a Spanish teacher at Waite and DeVilbiss high schools, encouraged the students in his Spanish clubs to correspond with students studying English in Toledo, Spain. Doermann and Brown, together with people they had met in Toledo, Spain, formed the Committee on Relations with Toledo, Spain in 1931. Dr. Doermann and Russell Brown led the organization in Toledo, Ohio, while Toledo, Spain’s mayor, Guillermo Perezagua and Adoración Cómez Camarero, editor of the city’s newspaper, led the organization in Toledo, Spain.
“In 1934, a delegation was sent from Toledo, Ohio to Toledo, Spain. “Fiesta Week” in Toledo, Ohio corresponded with the trip. The celebration included an exhibition of Spanish art at the Toledo Museum of Art. A delegation from Toledo, Spain planned to visit Ohio in 1937 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Toledo, Ohio, but the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and World War II disrupted those plans.
“The Committee remained inactive until 1958. However, informal communications were maintained between Russell Brown of the American committee and Pablo Rodríguez of the Spanish committee.
“In 1962, a group from Toledo, Spain visited Toledo, Ohio as part of the celebration of Toledo, Ohio’s 125-year history. In 1965, twenty-eight area high school students visited Toledo, Spain. A scholarship encouraging intercultural education was established in honor of Russell Brown in the late 1960s. A similar scholarship was established in Toledo, Spain in 1971, thereby starting an exchange program.
“Sister Cities International recognized the Toledo, Ohio branch of the Committee for this exchange program by awarding it the Town Affiliation Award in 1962 and an award for the “best people-to-people project” for fundraising to support the scholarship program.
“In 1976, a delegation from Toledo, Spain again came to Toledo, Ohio, this time to celebrate the United States bicentennial. The two branches celebrated the 50th anniversary of their relationship in 1981 with a yearlong celebration in Toledo, Ohio. In 1982, the members voted to change the name of the organization from “Committee on Relations with Toledo, Spain” to “Association of Two Toledos.” That same year, the Association sponsored an exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art of works by El Greco.”