Live From SXSW's Screening Room

"NUTRIA"

D: Ted Gesing.

Documentary Short Competition

Louisiana is losing what little solid ground it has to rampant erosion. A major player in the problem is the onslaught of nutria, the fast-breeding, long-whiskered, possum-tailed swamp rats decimating the plants that keep the soil in place. The two best solutions? Shoot 'em and cook 'em, according to the experts in "Nutria." But it's not quite that simple. While the creepy hairless tail might make it easy to shoot, the long whiskers and guileless curiosity of the creatures also make it a fitting mascot for the local ball club. Director Ted Gesing wears the toque for this documentary dish, and he shows a knack for cooking. Gesing gives "Nutria" a little taste of swampland travelogue (including an amusing scene at McIlhenny's Avery Island), a little taste of science education, and bumps it all up a notch with some saucy Cajun heat. Have a little nutria jambalaya, cher! ("Nutria" won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Short). (Alamo, 3/15, 6:30pm)

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