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Female activists fight illegal vessels devastating our oceans.

On the maps drawn by men there is an immense white area, terra incognitia, where most women live. That country is all yours to explore, to inhabit, to describe. - Ursula K Le Guin.

Last year, just before the pandemic began, documentary filmmaker Alice Russell travelled to Antarctica with Greenpeace to film a team of female activists scaling the back of a transhipment vessel over freezing Antarctic waters.

Greenpeace has recorded that 416 'risky' reefer (refrigeration) vessels operate on the high seas. These transhipment vessels are a threat to the marine environment by facilitating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and undermining the human rights of their workers.

TERRA INCOGNITA was born out of an expedition where Greenpeace went pole to pole tapping into scientists and campaigners, teaming up to research the threats of climate change, overfishing, plastic pollution, deep sea mining and oil drilling, in a bid to create a Global Ocean Treaty to protect the world’s oceans.

Russell 'Antarctica is a strange and surreal place, and it was amongst the floating cathedrals of ice that a liminal space opened up. Ships have historically been male dominated environments, but I arrived to find myself amongst an internationally diverse team, with many capable and compassionate women working in roles traditionally associated with the world of men. Being around them reminded me how absent strong, female role models were in the films and TV shows that I'd consumed and internalised as a young child, and I wanted to enshrine the power that I'd experienced there, in this unchartered territory off the map. The film is a love letter to all women, inspired by those I met onboard the Esperanza.'


Filmmaker - @thealicerussell

Music - @noum.official