The Shrimp

Tracing an environmentally threatened seafood from source to plate and back again.
Year Released
Film Length(s)
15 mins
Closed captioning available Audio description available
Remote video URL


The commercial shrimping industry along the coasts of the American South is threatened by pollution, oil spills and consumer demand for less expensive foreign imports. THE SHRIMP is a meditative documentary film that follows the life, death and rebirth of one shrimp from the murky marshes of Savannah, Georgia.

Featured review

I use the film in my Marine Policy class. Taking the point of view of a lowly shrimp, as the film does, is a thought-provoking way to understand coastal ecosystems. The film is also beautiful and humorous. I recommend it for courses in environmental studies, anthropology, geography, and American studies.
PhD, Professor of Human Ecology, Cultural Anthropology and Fisheries Research, Rutgers University


Beautifully etched images and a lush audio soundtrack create a rich observational work about coastal foodways, Southern culture, human folly and the interplay of natural and built environments. THE SHRIMP is as unique and engaging as the people, culture and geography it follows.

Recommended by educators as a teaching resource for courses in:

Sustainability / The Environment

Food & Food Systems

Oceanography / Marine Science / Fisheries

Human Ecology

Southern Studies

Creative Writing

Buddhist Studies


On its surface, Keith Wilson's THE SHRIMP masquerades as a quirky and entertaining little film about a small part--quite literally--of the food chain. But beneath this facade, THE SHRIMP is a thoughtful, some would say philosophical, story about the complicated ways that people know the natural world that surrounds them through the foods that sustain their bodies and their cultures. The film shows the interconnectedness of all of life's creatures, and in the process suggests the profound impacts our food choices have not only on the lives of other beings but on entire ecosystems. Calling Wilson's film timely is an understatement.
Nicolaas Mink
Sustainable Foods Fellow at Butler University's Center for Urban Ecology
Every circle-of-life story has to start somewhere. Filmmaker Keith Wilson begins this one off the coast of Savannah, GA, where a single shrimp—swimming happily, one assumes—is suddenly caught in a fishing net. A contemplative piece told with images and natural sound, The Shrimp illustrates the life (and death) cycle of a threatened species important to the region's economy and culture, where oil spills and general pollution along the Atlantic seaboard (combined with foreign competition) have adversely affected the shrimp business. After being caught, sorted, and packed in ice, the shrimp goes to a processing facility, where it's washed, deveined, packaged, and refrigerated. Next stop is a restaurant, where it's battered and deep fried, and then served to a lounge singer who interrupts her piano playing to take a bite. Of course, the story doesn't end there. The next stage in the journey—from commode to a water reclamation plant—is tastefully depicted as the camera roams through neighborhoods along the way before ultimately winding up back where it started, in the sea. An artful documentary short that takes a nuanced approach to such topics as sustainability, food systems, ecology, and regional culture, this is recommended. Aud: J, H, C, P. (C. Block)
Video Librarian

Awards and Screenings

South by Southwest Film Festival
PBS Broadcast
U.S. National Gallery of Art
Director's Choice Award, Black Maria Film Festival
Best Cinematography Award, Nextframe Touring Film Festival
Berlin International Short Film Festival
Center for Sustainable Development Film Series
Gene Siskel Film Center

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Audio Description
  • Closed Captioning
  • Transcript
  • Resources for Educators

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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