The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Mar. 30, 2023

VWIFF fundraiser raises $6,000 for fest

Van Wert independent/contributor content

“I want to bring the world to Van Wert.” That was the main message given by Len Archibald, executive director of The Van Wert Independent Film Festival at its recent “Launch” fundraiser at the Van Wert Banquet Hall.

Van Wert Independent Film Festival Executive Director Len Archibald (left) with Van Wert Municipal Court Judge Jill Leatherman during the organization's recent fundraiser. (photo submitted)

Supported by 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the Northwest Ohio Film Foundation, the fundraiser raised more than $6,000 to assist in promoting and expanding the culture of cinema in the Northwest Ohio Region. Judge Rick Workman of Lima and Van Wert Municipal Court Judge Jill Leatherman were some of the delegates that attended.

Jack Paullus, director and actor of over 100 plays in the Van Wert area, brought his style of vaudeville-inspired comedy to host the proceedings as Eleesha Long of Parkway High School and Joelle Steinbrunner of Celina entertained the audience with stirring renditions of “All that Jazz” and “9 to 5“, among other film-inspired songs.

Prize packages provided by Carter Lumber, Affordable Art, Balyeat’s Coffee Shop and other local businesses were raffled off, along with a 50/50 drawing for the attendees.

During his speech to the fundraiser audience, Archibald told the story of filmmakers from Iran and Nigeria who have used the medium of film to escape or provide commentary of their homelands. The short film from Iran concerns a woman who decides to raise her unborn child alone after her husband suggests an abortion.

“This is off-with-your-head talk,” Archibald noted. “We tend to take some of (our) freedoms for granted and these artists had the courage to tell the stories they wanted in spite of the possible repercussions.

“We need to celebrate their courage, he added. “Movies aren’t just about the stories told on screen, but the stories of the filmmakers themselves.”

Half of the films submitted to the festival come from outside the United States, with every continent with the exception of Antarctica represented.

The Van Wert Independent Film Festival will be held July 8-10 at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center of Northwest Ohio in Van Wert with intentions to become an annual event that will bring tourism dollars to the area from patrons globally.

For more information about The Van Wert Independent Film Festival or The Northwest Ohio Film Foundation, contact Archibald or visit the Van Wert Independent Film Festival website at

POSTED: 04/29/11 at 2:57 am. FILED UNDER: News