Agriculture-themed film fest has Clinton County ties

By Gary Huffenberger -

New York City pastry chef Christina Tosi has family roots in Clinton County.

Courtesy photo

This weekend’s agriculture-themed film fest in Hillsboro has two entries with Clinton County roots, including a Netflix episode of “Chef’s Table” that profiles New York City pastry chef Christina Tosi and includes scenes from Clinton County.

Tosi’s family — the Ehlerding Family of Port William — has lived and farmed in the Clinton County area for several generations. According to the film fest’s official program, Tosi grew up around here until her parents moved to the nation’s capital.

“Tosi continued to visit her grandmother and relatives in Clinton County, and many of her baking inspirations are based on her family’s recipes,” states the program.

Tosi created the concept for Milk Bar, which Bon Appetit magazine called “one of the most exciting bakeries in the country.” She was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40. She’s authored three cookbooks and has been a judge on the Fox’s Masterchef and Masterchef Junior.

Admission is free to the 2018 “Chef’s Table” episode that features Tosi. At the event, meet her Aunt Sylvia and taste some of Milk Bar’s finest treats. The 48-minute film will be shown at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, in the large meeting room at the Highland County Administration Building, 119 Governor Foraker Place in Hillsboro.

There will be a question-and-answer session and a baking demonstration of how to make confetti cookies. True to agricultural roots, Tosi is known for her sweetcorn cookie.

Native Clinton Countian Brooke Beam, Ph.D., who is the festival director and an OSU Extension educator, said there are a lot of Clinton County farms and scenery that can be viewed in the film, including the Clinton County Fair.

In the documentary, Tosi talks about the inspiration she received from her grandmother and family in Clinton County, including inspiration for some of her recipes, Beam said.

Earlier on Saturday, around 11:15 a.m. at the Southern State Community College’s ’s central campus theatre at 100 Hobart Drive in Hillsboro, Beam presents a film of her own with the title “Thanks, Bob”.

It is a historical comparison using 16mm film of Clinton County and Wilmington from the early 1950s compared with modern scenes in 2019. It has a run-time of 5:36.

This short documentary utilizes the 16mm color film of her great-grandfather, Robert Cotner. Included are scenes from the Wilmington Sesquicentennial and of downtown Wilmington, said Beam.

“Kind of a blast from the past,” Beam said. There have been “a couple changes” over the years, she said in an intentional understatement with a chuckle.

“Thanks, Bob” is part of a shorts program (five short films in the program), which costs $5 including the popcorn.

Named the Germinate International Film Fest, it will be held on both Friday and Saturday, Aug. 16 and 17.

In addition to screenings of the motion picture productions, attendees can participate in a series of hands-on workshops on video production, photography, agriculture, natural resources, and community development topics. The workshops will be held at various locations in Highland County, including uptown Hillsboro, SSCC, and Karnes Orchard.

“Germinate means to grow, and the purpose of this film festival is to grow knowledge about agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities,” Beam said.

More than 60 films will be shown during the festival, ranging in length from a 90-second film by a Highland County 4-H member to international feature-length films.

The film fest will showcase the agricultural industry from the perspective of agricultural producers, researchers, and rural community members. Topics of the films range from astronomy to water quality.

“Rural communities face many challenges,” Beam said. “Germinate International Film Fest has curated films that highlight the resiliency of rural communities and the individuals who are making these communities thrive. The festival fills a void and differs from thousands of other film festivals, because the films have been selected based on their ability to tell a compelling and logical story, as well as provide factual information about the topic discussed.”

For more information about the festival or to purchase tickets, please visit .

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

New York City pastry chef Christina Tosi has family roots in Clinton County. York City pastry chef Christina Tosi has family roots in Clinton County. Courtesy photo

By Gary Huffenberger