Telluride Mountainfilm: Scott Cohen’s “Red Knot”

Telluride Mountainfilm: Scott Cohen’s “Red Knot”

In addition to two screenings of Scott Cohen’s “Red Knot”  – Saturday, Masons, 6:16 p.m. & Sunday, Sheridan Opera House, 9:15 p.m. – photographic images of Antarctica he shot while making the movie will be on display at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art during Gallery Walk, Friday, May 22.

To find out when and where “Red Knot” is screening, click here for Mountainfilm’s full schedule.

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Cue the metaphors.

A new marriage winds up at sea on a voyage to the chilly, but photogenic Antarctic.

That is the Twitter version of the plot of director Scott Cohen’s freshman project: “Red Knot” in which Vincent Kartheiser (formerly of “Mad Men”) and Olivia Thirlby play newlyweds Peter and Chloe, who both jump at the chance to satisfy their wanderlust by taking a belated honeymoon aboard a research vessel.

However, Peter is a writer obsessed by a book project (and hobnobbing with the ship’s more esteemed guests), leaving an isolated Chloe no choice but find support and companionship in the person of Captain Emerson, played by Billy Campbell.

The ensemble cast co-stars with the scenery.


Set against the stunning backdrop of the Southern Ocean and the jagged coast of Antarctica, “Red Knot,” a modern exploration of love, isolation, and betrayal, examines the poles within us and the ambivalence of love.

The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Seattle Film Festival.

Director and film – which opened at the IFC Film Center in New York to great applause in December 2015 – are scheduled to appear at the 37th annual Telluride Mountainfilm, Friday, May 22 – Monday, May 25. (Passes/tickets here.)

“Scott Cohen’s Red Knot exhibits such spot-on, heartbreaking honesty about behaviors that tear many couples apart — passive-aggressiveness, career obsession, seeking validation to soothe one’s inadequacies,” raved The Village Voice, adding, “…A trenchant whirlwind mood piece.” 

“A quiet stunner of a drama,” said The Hollywood Reporter

“One of the most gorgeous movies you’ll see this year,” NY Daily News

…Cohen, a photographer by trade, uses his trained lens to paint the film in the majesty of the whites and blues of the arctic pallet. While Thirlby and Kartheiser stage their ill-fated romance in the foreground…. Red Knot, is a travelogue with a heart, and big questions about loneliness in this modern age. This is an art house diversion, but grounded enough for casual viewers. Book your ticket on this Voyage,” wrote Slack Jaw Punks.

Scott Cohen, director, “Red Knot"

Scott Cohen, director, “Red Knot”

Scott Cohen is an artist and director now based in New York, who used to call Telluride home. His photographic works, primarily derived from his own documentary footage, can be found in numerous collections around the world and collectively make up the parts of a poetic narrative he calls “An Unfinished Ballad.”

Scott’s theater projects include a long collaboration with writer/actor/director André Gregory developing Gregory’s “Bone Songs,” staged in an early incarnation at Telluride’s historic Sheridan Opera House; the Beckett pieces “Waiting for Godot” and “Krapp’s Last Tape,” also performed on the Opera House stage; Mastrisimone’s “Extremities”; and an original travelogue, “My Great Descent.”

Scott’s interest in developing his first feature film was inspired by the prospect, rather challenge, of pulling together an ensemble cast to improvise for a month at sea and on location in Antarctica with a skeleton crew.

Sounds crazy, no?

But natural perverseness turned out to be just the starting point of a journey of discovery. The making of “Red Knot” led to a deeper sense of self and a more profound understanding of humankind in general and our relationship to Mother Nature.

To learn more, eavesdrop on my conversation with Scott Cohen.

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