małni—towards the ocean, towards the shore


A poetic experimental documentary circling the origin of the death myth from the Chinookan people in the Pacific Northwest, małni – towards the ocean, towards the shore follows two people as they wander through their surrounding nature, the spirit world, and something much deeper inside.

After multiple short films at the Festival, filmmaker Sky Hopinka returns with his first feature-length film, made in his signature style. With luscious imagery and a seducing score, Hopinka takes us on a journey through language and belief. We follow Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier on their separate paths, contemplating their afterlife, rebirth, and death. A beautiful lesson subtly arises about humanity’s place on this and other worlds, deceptively small and profoundly deep.

As with Hopinka’s shorts, małni is stunning on the big screen in both cinematography and idea. His films become more beautiful with his artistic use of language, both spoken and written. The intimate film unfolds in ourselves to something so large you’ll be thinking (and dreaming) about it long after.

YEAR 2020

CATEGORY New Frontier Films & Performances


RUN TIME 82 min

LANGUAGE English and Chinuk Wawa

SUBTITLES Yes with English subtitles



PHONE (503) 312-6968


Music by
Sound Recordist
Executive Producer

Artist Bio

Sky Hopinka

Sky Hopinka (Ho-Chunk/Pechanga) was born and raised in Washington and spent a number of years in California and Oregon. In Portland he studied and taught Chinuk Wawa, a language indigenous to the Columbia River Basin. He received his BA from Portland State University in liberal arts and his MFA in film, video, animation, and new genres from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. He currently teaches at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia.