Sky Hopinka: ›maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore‹

Sky Hopinka’s first feature-length film ›Maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore‹ (2019) is an ethno-poetic documentary portrait in two parts. Set against the backdrop of the landscape of the Columbia River Basin, the film follows the wanderings of two friends of the artist, Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier, along their separate paths through death, rebirth and afterlife. The protagonists constantly tap into the Chinook mythical lore to articulate their personal stories and define their identities. To further authenticate Sweetwater and Jordan’s bond with their native land, the interviews are conducted in Chinuk Wawa, a nearly extinct indigenous language of the Lower Columbia River Basin that once served as the creole lingua-franca in the region. The result is a lesson about the place of humanity in this and other worlds – a meditation on death and rebirth that takes its strength from a well-knit collage of images and voices. The film premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.