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Sky Hopinka Film Screening: maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore

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April 11 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

“This ethereal experimental documentary by Sky Hopinka is an essential portrait of contemporary Indigenous life.” – New York Times

maɬni (pronounced moth-nee) – towards the ocean, towards the shore is one of the most significant recent ventures in Native North American filmmaking, recognized by the MacArthur Foundation as a vital work that speaks to ongoing effects of colonial displacement and violence. 

This eighty-minute film is being shown free to the public for one night only on April 11 at the Del Mar Theatre in Santa Cruz. The film screening will be free and open to the public. Please register here.

This full length experimental film follows Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier’s wanderings as they contemplate the afterlife, rebirth, and the place in-between. Spoken mostly in chinuk wawa, which Hopinka speaks and teaches, their stories depart from the Chinookan origin of death myth, with its distant beginning and circular shape. As such, it exemplifies Hopinka’s ambitious attempt to not only represent the lives of Indigenous peoples but to incorporate their worldviews into the very strategies of cinematic representation. 

maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore is presented in combination with the multi-sited exhibition Sky Hopinka: Seeing and Seen, on view at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences through April 16 and at the San José Museum of Art through July 9. Hopinka’s visit to the Central Coast also includes a talk with renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg activist and author Leanne Betasamosake Simpson at the Institute of the Arts and Sciences on Wednesday, April 12 and a screening of films produced by the COUSIN Collective at the San José Museum of Art on Thursday, April 13

Founded in 2018 by Sky Hopinka, Adam Khalil, Alexandra Lazarowich, and Adam Piron, COUSIN supports Indigenous artists expanding traditional definitions of the moving image by experiment with form and genre. 


Sky Hopinka received a BA (2012) from Portland State University and an MFA (2016) from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. He is currently an assistant professor in the Film and Electronic Arts Program at Bard College. His work has been shown at numerous film festivals including Sundance, Park City and Salt Lake City, UT; Courtisane, Ghent; Punto de Vista, Pamplona; Milwaukee Film Festival; Chicago Underground Film Festival; Toronto International Film Festival; and Ann Arbor Film Festival. He has also exhibited work at venues including Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City. He was the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Grant in 2022. Hopinka is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and a descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.

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