14 WOMEN, 3000 MILES, X TRILLION PIECES OF PLASTIC
A journey that promises to change not only the women's
lives but the very future of our planet. X Trillion follows the journey of 14 women as they sail a gruelling 3000 miles across the North Pacific Ocean to one of the most remote places on Earth, but also the location of the densest accumulation of ocean plastic - the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. A life-afﬁrming, optimistic story of adventure, discovery, science and solidarity.
Verity WislockiProducerAnother News Story, Nice To Meet You All, On Our Doorstep, Stormskater
Genres:Documentary, Adventure, Environment, Women, STEM, Microplastics
Runtime:1 hour 10 minutes 43 seconds
Completion Date:August 31, 2022
Production Budget:150,000 USD
Country of Origin:United Kingdom
Country of Filming:Canada, United States
ELEANOR CHURCH has been making short to medium length docs ﬁlms/photo stories for nearly 20 years telling stories that focus on society, environment, women, human rights, migration and supply chains. X Trillion is her first feature. With a background in documentary, investigative and creative ﬁlmmaking, the projects that she has worked on have taken her across the world. This has shaped her as a person and as a filmmaker. She is a UN video producer and AOP photographer and was commissioned recently to make two WaterBear Originals. Her work has been shown widely, including on The Guardian, Al Jazeera, the Hufﬁngton Post, the BBC, international broadcasters, at the US State Department, a number of high proﬁle UN and international meetings, community screenings and ﬁlm festivals (picking up a number of awards and official selections). A number of her films have contributed to policy change - something she is very proud of.
This film has great personal importance to me for two reasons. First, it's a culmination of nearly twenty years of making films about people and the environment and finding new ways to engage audiences with subject matters that are very important but might not seem interesting to them. With this film, we had the perfect scenario to build a strong narrative and sense of the characters whilst exploring the issues surrounding plastic through the women's experience.
Secondly, when I filmed this expedition, I had two very small children at home. As we left the marina for the great wide ocean, my body flooded with fear at what I was doing - being so far from land and help for three weeks and putting myself in a position of danger - and I thought to myself: "By God, you'd better make this worth it". And so far, I really feel that I have. I know that we have already had an impact but I hope that it changes the world in in a significant way for them.
The ﬁlm opens on the crashing, wild, beautiful ocean as the 72-foot exploration vessel, Sea Dragon, sails away from Hawaii as our intrepid all-women crew embark on an epic expedition. We remain at sea throughout the ﬁlm, living this journey with the characters. Having never met each other before, the women will have to negotiate not only a claustrophobic and sometimes stressful environment but also the emotional and physical challenges of the expedition, as well as the pressure to complete their individual missions.
Sailing through wild seas thousands of miles from shore, through the daily rhythms of life onboard, we get to know our crew and see their relationships develop.
The crew is made up of two scientists, an engineer, a packaging designer, a graphics designer, a circular economy specialist, two teachers, an ocean plastics advocate, a social media videographer, a skipper, a second and third mate, and a documentary ﬁlmmaker from a variety of countries. They are on board to collect scientiﬁc data from this little explored area of the planet via daily trawls through the surface of the water and sightings.
500 miles from land, having not seen another boat or person for days, they start to see large pieces of plastic ﬂoating past – a toothbrush, a whole plastic chair, a comb,… all objects that once belonged to someone, now in one of the most remote places on earth. What they ﬁnd in the water though, invisible to the naked eye, is far more alarming. They are sailing through a dense soup of microplastics (pieces of plastic measuring 5mm or less) and toxics which represent a far greater danger, especially women.
Crossing through the densest accumulation of ocean plastic on the planet (the “Great Paciﬁc Garbage Patch”, now three times the size of France) through their voices, knowledge and personal experiences, we follow the women’s journey as they carry out cutting edge research into the impacts of plastics and microplastics both
on the natural world and on human health, and explore the practical and emotional responses to one of the biggest global challenges of our time. Each brings a unique perspective to the experience from their professional point of view, but what is most touching is their reaction to it as normal people.
From observational footage of life on board – freezing night shifts, seasickness and solidarity – to sweeping documentation of the wilderness – soaring albatrosses and a pod of miraculous dolphins – X Trillion reframes the exploration narrative
to fit a contemporary crisis, where the untouched is untouched no longer. First-hand accounts enable viewers to share in the incredible adventure of the women who sailed right through the most catastrophic environmental disaster created by humans, and to realise just what it will take to emerge at the other side.
One thing the crew is sure of, this is not a story of gloom. This is a story of opportunity. Through these inspiring women the audience will experience their epiphany, personal and professional, as they sail through the reality of our present situation - the North Paciﬁc Gyre - and come out the other side with an insight into our possible future. This is a soulful ﬁlm with a strong emotional arc, ﬁlled with life and magic and a gently explosive truth.
Stories about our environment are plastered all over the news daily and there is a
growing awareness of the need for change. But with that awareness is a deep
feeling of despair which often leads to paralysis. With endless warnings that we are running out of time to limit climate change catastrophe, prevent biodiversity collapse and that plastic pollution caused by humans can now be found from the highest to the deepest parts of our planet and is impacting our own health, this ﬁlm couldn't be more timely.
This film is an inspiring, optimistic story for our times. It will not only show that a better understanding of the problem and a multi-faceted collaboration can change the world, it will also inspire all people to get involved in whatever way they can
and will especially show young women, who are traditionally underrepresented, that working in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) can help to change the future of our planet.