ma?ni—towards the ocean, towards the shore

Director: Sky Hopinka
Screenwriters: Sky Hopinka

Institute History

  • 2020 Sundance Film Festival


A poetic experimental documentary circling the origin of the death myth from the Chinookan people in the Pacific Northwest, ma?ni – 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, ma?ni 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.

— M.P.

Screening Details


As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]