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malni – towards the ocean, towards the shore

This film follows Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier’s wanderings through each of their worlds as they wonder through and contemplate the afterlife, rebirth, and the place in-between. Spoken mostly in chinuk wawa, their stories are departures from the Chinookan origin of death myth, with its distant beginning and circular shape. (SH).

Available Online: Friday, May 7th – Thursday, May 13th
Director: Sky Hopinka
Film Details: 2020, 80 minutes, HD video, stereo, color, chinuk wawa, and English

Order Tickets | Trailer

Join us for a live Q&A with Director Sky Hopinka, moderated by Cass Gardiner, on Wednesday, May 12th at 7 PM EST. Register to join here or watch on Facebook Live! Learn more info about our moderator here!

World Premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Official Selection of the 2020 Blackstar Film Festival, Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM).

About maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore:

Experimental filmmaker Sky Hopinka’s eagerly anticipated first feature film melds an inquiry into the Chinookan death myth with the stories of two members of the Chinook nation, as they describe their relationship to life and death, and observational scenes from their lives and those of their families. Since its premiere at the 2020 Sundance, małni—towards the ocean, towards the shore has picked up critical raves for its material fluidity between experimental and more accessible documentary forms, as well as Hopinka’s further refinement of his depictions of Indigenous epistemologies. The film is buoyed by a deep commitment to conveying stories on one’s own terms, from the subtitling choices to its refusal to easily contextualize its images of the land, daily life, and connections to outsiders.

Hopinka retains much of the feel of his acclaimed short films, from the use of visual effects to the focus on family relationships and emphasizing the lack of singular interpretations. It’s as much content as it is form—as Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier verbally acknowledge multiple complicated truths in the same scene, the film shines when its images are beautifully, evocatively manipulated—the whirl of people to a drum beat, the pulse of the brilliantined leaves found in a Pacific Northwest forest after a good morning rain. (AS)

“Critic’s Pick! An essential portrait of contemporary Indigenous life. Refreshingly centers the Native perspective, and beckons audiences onto its wavelength by tapping into something more intuitive, the stuff of dreams.” – Beatrice Loayza, The New York Times

A portrait of filmmaker Sky Hopinka.

Sky Hopinka Select Filmography
maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore (2020)
Lore (short, 2019) Fainting Spells (short, 2018)
Dislocation Blues (short, 2017)