Emily Cohn ’17 to Have Feature Film Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival

March 28, 2019
Erin Ulrich ’18
"CRSHD" movie still showing three main actresses looking at the camera, holding their phones, against purple, pink, and yellow background
"CRSHD" movie still for the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival Photo credit: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

A creative writing graduate, Emily Cohn ’17 has been writing films since middle school. CRSHD is her first big break.

In the fifth grade, Cohn made her first film for a school project. Fifteen years later, her first feature film—CRSHD—has been selected to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Written and directed by Cohn, CRSHD tells the story of three first-year college students at a small liberal arts college determined to lose their virginities before the summer, and reveals what they learn along the way.

Their pursuit leads them to an end-of-year “Crush Party”—an invite-only affair that requires being “crushed” or inviting a “crush” in order to attend. Despite their initial optimism, the film’s denouement occurs as the girls reflect on their futile mission at the end of the night and are forced to reflect on what’s truly important. The film touches on the multitude of emotions innate to the college experience and has been described by a Tribeca representative as “a refreshing portrayal of female sexuality.”

Cohn pitched CRSHD during her senior year for a creative writing class, began casting and recruitment for the film during the second semester that year, and filmed at Oberlin the summer after graduating. “It made sense to write it while living it,” she says.

Oberlin students were integral to the film’s production and worked as cast and crew members, as well as creators of original music, artwork, and costume design. Reflecting on the experience of creating the film with so many of her peers on Oberlin’s campus, Cohn says the cast and crew have depicted it as a “film summer camp.”

Image of students filming "CRSHD" at the Slow Train Cafe in Oberlin
Emily Cohn ’17 directs a scene in  the Slow Train Cafe in Oberlin. Also pictured: Daniel Cramer ’18 (Script Supervisor), Emma Snape ’17 (Lighting Department), Saaniya Zaveri (Cinematographer), Isabelle Barbier (Actor), and Abdul Seidu (Actor).
Photo by Jennifer George

Cohn first seriously considered a career in filmmaking when she was accepted into the Tribeca Film Fellows program in high school, and later continued to refine her technical skills while at Oberlin. Cohn produced several short films, held multiple film-related internships, and studied abroad for a year at the Prague Film School during her time at Oberlin.

Cohn says that the techniques she refined as a creative writing major complement the filmmaking she does now. “The creative writing major helped me dissect and understand story structure in a way I never had before,” she says. “The workshop-style classes taught me how to tackle the often grueling revision process. I use those tools every day: reading other people’s scripts, writing pitches, and answering emails. It all begins and ends with a story.”

On her Tribeca debut, Cohn says, “it’s been a dream of mine since I was little, so it’s insanely surreal. I’ve been working on CRSHD in somewhat of a bubble with the rest of the cast and crew for the past two and a half years, so it’s wild to think people who don’t know us at all will be seeing it!”

All screenings of the film sold out within two hours, but anyone interested in seeing the film can wait on the RUSH lines for the film. Additional information about CRSHD can be found on the film’s Tribeca Film Festival guide and by signing up for the CRSHD newsletter. Follow CRSHD on Instagram. View Cohn’s website.

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