Toledo Auto Film Festival revs upWritten by Tom Konecny | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The automobile will get some long overdue star treatment as the focus of the inaugural Toledo Auto Film Festival, taking place May 8-17 in Northwest Ohio, and organizers are hoping the event will earn national recognition within five years.
“Cars, to many individuals, are not interchangeable because [people] have a passion about a particular type of vehicle,” said David Groves, a Bowling Green State University professor who specializes in the automotive and racing world in BGSU’s School of Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies.
The festival is divided into five components, three of which are being presented at local libraries and will focus on the legendary Dixie Highway, cars of the ’40s and ’50s, and the development of windshields.
The Wood County District Public Library is situated on the famed Dixie Highway (better known as Main Street in downtown Bowling Green), and will host a talk about that road; the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and Rossford Public Library will also host events. Short films are planned at each, and a military vehicle show will be held in Downtown Toledo. An Internet film festival will be held during the summer.
The festival’s final portion is a film competition that will let youth and adult filmmakers create and submit their own short films for competition in October, with prizes to be awarded.
Groves teamed with auto racing historians Susan Weiss of Appalachian State University and Mark Howe of Northern Michigan University to bring the festival to fruition.
The trio originally thought Las Vegas would be the best location for an auto film festival, but Richard Nachazel, Destination Toledo president, convinced them otherwise.
“[He] really talked me into having it here in Toledo,” Groves said.
Autos and films in Toledo have some individual history of their own, but the two have also intersected. The peak of Toledo auto film mania may have occurred on May 28, 1978, when the former Showcase Cinemas on Secor Road played host to the premiere of the modest film “Corvette Summer.”
Mark Hamill, appearing in his first movie since “Star Wars,” would ultimately come to Toledo to promote his film. The premiere was accompanied by a Corvette parade at the Lucas County Recreation Center that set a new Guinness World Record with 10,000 Corvettes, according to event organizer Terry Michaelis, whose ProTeam Corvette Sales of Napoleon was located in Maumee at the time.
“I convinced [MGM Studios] to do their premiere in Toledo, because it was the glass capital of the world, and Owens Corning was involved with glass components with the Corvette, and they bit,” Michaelis said.
Groves said event planners are also looking for people who can offer oral histories.
For more information, visit www.toledoautoff.org.