Toluca I Peru RPCVs on July 4, 2009 in Nebraska

Toluca I Peru RPCVs July 4 2009 in Nebraska

Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Film

Toluca I – Peru: A Legacy Remembered

What the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps in 2011 will be is pretty much a secret still – I’ve heard mention of an event at the JFK Library and Museum in Boston in March and an event in Washington DC in September – but one thing I hope you will see is Toluca I – Peru: A Legacy Remembered, a film about what happened to a group of Peru PCVs after their service in the late 1960s.

Film producer and writer Jose Luis Sedano told me that Toluca I is being made to debut at the Peace Corps 50th and will put more emphasis on Peace Corps’ third goal and the volunteers’ lives after their service than on what they did as Volunteers during their service.

Toluca I volunteers were the first Peace Corps group to train outside of the USA. They trained in Toluca, Mexico since most of them were going to sites in the Peruvian Andes where a typical site was at 8,000 feet above sea level and higher. Toluca is the highest city in Mexico. Toluca I producer and writer Jose Luis Sedano was born in Mexico City and felt right at home.

Toluca I volunteers flew to Peru September 1967 one year before the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and the massacre of Tlatelolco.

Jose suggests you “Google Tlateloco (Plaza de las Tres Culturas), if you are not up on this shameful event in Mexican history. At that time, Jose Luis’ cousin Yolanda Jimenez lived within eye-sight of the Plaza de Tlatelolco.”

In late 1969 during a visit to Mexico City, she showed Jose bullet holes in the wall of her apartment and recalled the two-day curfew and the army patrols.

“It was Mexico’s Kent State,” says Jose.

[Wikipedia says The Tlatelolco massacre, also known as The Night of Tlatelolco (from a book title by the Mexican writer Elena Poniatowska), was a government massacre of student and civilian protesters and bystanders that took place during the afternoon and night of October 2, 1968, in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas in the Tlatelolco section of Mexico City. It happened ten days before the 1968 Summer Olympics celebrations in Mexico City.

While at the time, government propaganda and official media in Mexico claimed that government forces had been provoked by protesters shooting at them, much later official documents were found showing that the snipers had in fact been members of the Presidential Guard. The death toll remains controversial: official government estimates place the death toll at 30, while some estimates place it in the thousands. Most sources, however, report between 200 and 300 deaths. The exact number of people arrested is also disputed.]

Jose says they shot the first part of Toluca I - Peru: A Legacy Remembered when they came together on 4th of July weekend in the summer of 2009 in Norfolk & Tilden, Nebraska. Most of them had not seen each other since the end of training in Cusco, Peru in September. 1967.

Jose and I had a great conversation on the telephone. He is “continuing to serve“ as a Symphonium docent at the Los Angeles Music Center home of the Los Angeles Symphony. He is a retired board member of the Red Cross Blood Services of Southern California. I have spent a lot of time in the Boston Symphony’s hall where my father was in the management for thirty years from 1948-1978.

I hope you will join me in looking forward to seeing Toluca I – Peru: A Legacy Remembered. If you would like to help, see the film synopsis below.

Toluca I Synopsis:

Title: Toluca I - Peru: A Legacy Remembered
Length: 54:30 minutes, Co-producer Phoenix Productions, Norfolk, NE
Format: Canon Digital cameras, 16×9 ratio @ 24 fps, Final Cut Pro
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The film is a nostalgic look at a group of returned Peace Corps volunteers forty two years after they trained in Toluca, Mexico for service in Peru 1967-’69.

The documentary will be shot over the 4th of July 2009 weekend in Tilden, Nebraska a small farming community where Don & Jean Oelsligle, our reunion hosts and organizers, live on their family farm.

Most of the Toluca I group attending the reunion have not seen each other since training in 1967. As a member of Toluca I Jose Luis Sedano, yours truly, will produce/write the documentary.

The film will feature personal stories of why we applied, accepted the invitation to train, our work in our respective sites and it’s challenges, our shortfalls and our career paths since serving as volunteers in Peru.

The film will feature animated photos of our training in Toluca, Mexico, our sites in Peru, letters & postcards written home and from home, vintage ‘60’s file footage Peru and historic events back home with a soundtrack of music of the times.

The plan is to make the film available to screen in 2011 during the Peace Corps 50th Anniversary celebrations in Washington, DC and the Kennedy Library in Boston. Once we have a trailer we hope to secure theatrical and broadcast distribution through one of the premiere cable channels.

Corporate donor/investors will receive full frame screen credit with name & logo appearing in all print and electronic ads and materials.

Previous documentaries on the Peace Corps have focused on the volunteer’s work in-country. Our film Toluca I-Peru: A Legacy Remembered will be a personal post-service account celebrating the Peace Corps experience.

Jose Luis Sedano 323-830-2799 jlsedano@hotmail.com