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The Story

14 Women 

3000 Nautical Miles 

X Trillion Pieces of Plastic 

A life-affirming story of adventure, discovery, science and solidarity.

"We are about as far away from civilisation as one can get. Yet here, all around us, is evidence

of our daily lives on land. Our choices. Our purchases. This is your old toothbrush, my empty

shampoo bottle, the lid to his coffee cup.” – Michelle Byle, packaging designer

​One thousand miles from land. The closest humans orbit above in the space station. A lone

boat awakens to calm. Then, a fragment. Followed by a toothbrush, a washing basket, a garden

chair. Surface samples bring up handfuls of tiny microplastics. Looking out over the ocean, a

few pieces of plastic float visibly in sight. But a realisation dawns – we’re looking at a dense

soup of tiny pieces. The crew record an average of half a million pieces of microplastics per

square kilometre here, and that is only on the surface. Who knows how much is in the 5,000

metres of water beneath.


​There are thought to be 500 times more pieces of microplastic in the sea than stars in our

galaxy. And every tiny fragment of plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has come from

somewhere. Some things are so vast, complex and far away that they seem impossible to

grasp, and harder to recount. But change is wrought through personal testimony, and heroes are

made at sea. X Trillion takes us aboard with the all-women crew of eXXpedition North Pacific as

they sail out of their comfort zone and into the unknown, becoming witnesses to a global

problem and emerging transformed.


The scientist. The activist. The circular economist. The designer. From stargazers to slide

analysers, impossible problems call on us all. This is the story of a boat of strangers in a vast

ocean, cutting a course from despair to hope; through research, discussions and personal

journeys. In a crew built of artists, engineers, teachers and thinkers we find a floating model for

moving forward.


Embarking upon the adventure with goals and motivations both personal and professional, the

crew members tackle extreme emotional and physical challenges. As we get to know our

characters on the wild sea, relationships between them develop through the daily rhythms of life

aboard. We follow them as they gather scientific data for ten international research projects,

witnessing their emotional highs and numbing lows as they uncover explosive truths about the

impact of toxics on our bodies – female bodies in particular – and come to terms with the

gaping holes in existing research.

eXXpedition North Pacific is the 10th eXXpedition mission - it set out for answers to questions

like: Where is the plastic coming from? What does it mean for our natural world and human

health? And what can be done to solve it? With the realisation that there is no silver bullet to

solve this monumental problem, the voyages, led by Emily Penn, aim to inspire women from a

broad spectrum of professions to dedicate their lives to finding solutions, creating an army of

ambassadors to transform our future.

​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.

Through realisations and revelations, X Trillion tells a story filled with life, magic and a call to

action that burns with hope.

Directed by Eleanor Church 

Produced by Verity Wislocki

Made in association with eXXpedition and Park Village 

With support from Plastic Oceans International  

Executive producers Emily Penn / Paul Hillier / Adam Booth / Isabelle Georgeaux  

Filmed by Eleanor Church / Jennifer Russell

Edited by Dominic Stabb / Mirjam Jegorov

Assistant editor David McSkimming 

Trailer Marc Monserat 

Titles and graphics Chris Strong / Michelle Byle

Composer Simon Keep 

Sound Alex Joseph

Sound mix Lipsync Post

Picture post Dirty Looks

PR Abby Richardson at Fresh Communications

Music supervisors Danny Wareing / Ian Neil

Archive clearances Zoë Romer



Ana Jarc -  Engineer / medical student

Anna Strang - First mate

Eleanor Church - Filmmaker

Emily Duncan - Marine Scientist

Emily Penn - co-founder eXXpedition / ocean advocate

Imogen Robinson - Skipper

Jennifer Russell - Videographer

Jess Mackintosh - Second mate

Karine Therrien - Agronomist / educator

Kristine Berg -  Recycling expert

Michelle Byle - Packaging designer

Rowan Henthorn - Marine scientist

Sally Earthrowl - Geographer teacher 

Siri Østvold -  Designer


Land-based crew:

Larissa Clark - Head of communications at eXXpedition 

Soraya Abdel-Hadi - Office manager at eXXpedition

This film was made with the support of many people who believed in us and the project. Here are some of the individuals who supported us through crowdfunding, love and expertise to get this film made.

Thank you to:

Amandine Leonard, Amy Wislocki, Andy Hickman, Another World Adventures, Anwen Griffiths, Anya Hart Dyke, Bobbo,

Brendan Godley, Brodie, Brynn Baker, Carla Grande, Carol Stratford, Caroline Lewis, Caroline Stern, Celia Reid,

Chloe Shinnie, Chris Sumsky, Claire Ferguson, Cressida Wislocki,Dániel Róbert Kovács, Danny Wareing, David Church,

Denise Church, Döhle Yachts, Douglass Fenrich, Eilish Jamieson, Eliza Chanin,

Emily Steen, Eva Hermans, Felicity Crawshaw, Flora Bowden, Forivor, Hannah Christian, Hayley, Heather Lenz,

Hilary Persent, Hilary R Nash, Ian Neil, Ingrid E. Kvam, Jaymie Friesen, Jessica Rose, Jo Coldwell, José Ignacio Solana,

Katy Wislocki, Kay Prestney, Kazi Shahbaz, Kevin Engel, Lara Genovese, Larissa Clark, Laura Fletcher, Laura Markwardt,

Les Deux Helenes, Lesley Hawkins, Linzy Pollitt, Lisa Le Duc, Liz Gallagher, Lorenzo Dutto, Louis Jackson,

Lucy Davenport-Jones, Maia Norman, Marcus Bleasdale, Massimo Dighe, Megan Hawk, Melissa Michaels,

Michelle Byle, Mindi Mohamed, Neil Gunn, Nicole Matthesen, Nikkey Dawn, Patrick Nethercoat, Pat and Andy Wislocki, 

Paul Nini, Peggie Fariss, Peter Webber, Phil Treen, Phoebe Shum, Raven, Rebecca Attwood,

Rob Green, Sarah Church. Sarah Mynott, Stephanie Hogue, Steve Pang, Susanne Beck, Susanne Hermann,

Takehiko Yoshida, Tamara Stubbs, Thomas Hutchinson, Tom Roberts, Two Snake Dance and Design Company Inc.,

Vicki Felgate, Wilco Krul, Zoe

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