Tuesday 9pm Independent Lens: Rodents of Unusual Size - Delacroix Island is a little-known region south of New Orleans that survived Hurricane Katrina and is now facing its latest threat -- hordes of 20-pound rodents known as nutria.
The people of Louisiana have faced their share of environmental threats, from hurricanes to oil spills, they thought they had seen it all. Now, a host of monstrous 20-pound swamp rats haunt Louisiana’s bayous and backwaters. The invasive species, Nutria, hail from South America and have began to accelerate erosion of the state’s rapidly disappearing wetlands through their insatiable appetites. However, the people who call these areas home will not go down without a fight. Independent Lens confronts the devastation caused by natural disasters and highlights the local’s solutions to the problems caused by the uninvited menace.
- After graduating from USC with a degree in business and cinema, Chris Metzler’s film career has taken him from the depths of agency work to coordinating post-production for awful American movies seen late at night in Belgium. His film directing and producing work has resulted in frequent partnerships with Jeff Springer, where together they've crisscrossed the country with the aid of caffeinated beverages and made their way in the Nashville country and Christian music video industries, before finally forsaking their souls to commercial LA rock n’ rol, culminating in their winning a Billboard Magazine Music Video Award. Metzler eventually joined the independent documentary film scene with his feature-length directorial debut with Springer, the offbeat environmental documentary Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea, which was narrated by legendary counterculture filmmaker and “King of Trash” John Waters. The film went on to win over 37 awards for Best Documentary and was named by Booklist as one of its Top 10 Environmental Films. A cult favorite, the film was released theatrically in the US and broadcast nationally on the Sundance Channel. Metzler’s Emmy-nominated documentary, Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival, screened at SXSW and aired nationally on public television’s AfroPoP! series.
- Jeff Springer was born in an abandoned town in the California desert, raised in Hawaii, and educated at USC Film School. After working at a dilapidated film studio in Russia, he returned to Los Angeles and began editing promos for NBC, Paramount, Warner Bros. and Capitol Records. After moving to San Francisco, he found himself on Lucasfilm's Skywalker Ranch, editing behind-the-scenes documentaries for a not very well received science fiction prequel. Craving the unexpected, he directed his first feature documentary Plagues & Pleasures on the Salton Sea with Chris Metzler, about the offbeat residents, environmental disasters and flooded towns surrounding California's Salton Sea. Springer has gone on to make numerous documentaries, including photographing and editing the award-winning Everyday Sunshine: The Story of Fishbone for PBS, which was narrated by actor Laurence Fishburne. He then lived in Afghanistan to edit the documentary In-Justice, about women imprisoned for supposed “moral crimes.” He directed and photographed several short docs and an Emmy-nominated hour-long special for the show Artbound for KCET in Los Angeles.
- Quinn Costello is remarkably unequipped to live off the land for having grown up in rural Idaho. After exhibiting no ability to hunt, he fled to study film at a hippie college in Olympia, Washington, only to find himself years later making a film about hunters. After relocating to the Bay Area, Costello began editing documentaries on subjects ranging from environmental justice, sacred islands and dancing spiders. His portfolio of work has been seen on PBS, The Learning Channel, Sundance Channel and innumerable film festivals including Tribeca and Mountainfilm in Telluride. For ten years, he has been editing the Emmy Award-winning public television series The New Environmentalists narrated by Robert Redford. Rodents of Unusual Size is his feature directorial debut.