GAC film trailer goes viral

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

SIDNEY — If a promotional trailer film is an indication of what’s to come, the long anticipated Gateway Arts Council (GAC) video project, “Shelby County Workforce: Moving a Nation,” will be a real hit.

In August 2013, the organization began a video/music project based on the courtsquare sculpture by George Danhires that commemorates industry. Pat Elsass, of Botkins, began then to take still photographs of people performing their jobs in all kinds of workplaces.

In April, Columbus filmmaker John Ondo began to shoot video footage and interviews. He will combine his output with Elsass’s to create a documentary film.

Friday, GAC posted the trailer on its website. The 3-minute film opens with an aerial view of a major Shelby County intersection, just before dawn. It features vignettes by local business owners and shots of people at work in local factories and stores. To see it, visit and click on the link.

The trailer is already generating positive response.

At press time, the video had been viewed online 75,000 times, had reached 164,250 people, been shared 2,305 times and had generated more than 1,100 “likes” on Facebook.

Among the comments that were posted were “Goosebumps. Good job.” “Great place to be raised up. Many wonderful memories.” “Can’t wait to see the finished product.” “I want to see this. I’m a Shelby County purebred.” “My hometown.”

“There is a story here to be told about our local workforce that should make every local resident swell with pride. With the release of this trailer, we hope to start building anticipation and excitement for the fall release of the Gateway Arts Council-produced film about diverse Shelby County industries,” said GAC President Chris Gibbs.

“The thing I’ve been impressed with as a filmmaker and storyteller is that Shelby County industry is growing,” Ondo told the Sidney Daily News in April. “In big cities, buildings are rusting. In Shelby County, there’s a workforce and businesses that have been there for 100-plus years that are thriving. We’re going to focus on the blue collar workers that make it happen.”

He likened what will be the finished product to the “typical Ken Burns documentaries” that incorporate still photos, video footage and interviews.

“While Ken Burns does a great job with the Civil War and baseball — big events — Shelby County and small towns have stories, too,” Ondo said. “Part of my role as a filmmaker and storyteller is to show ordinary people who do extraordinary things.”

“Working on this film has allowed me to meet some of the best people in the world,” said GAC Executive Director Ellen Keyes. “I have learned great life lessons, been inspired to do more in my life, and become more thankful for all that this county contributes to our nation. It is work produced by the hands of Shelby County people that literally moves our nation. I hope this film can bring that sense of pride to each and every individual who works here.”

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.