Project Description

Sky Hopinka

Portrait of Sky Hopinka

FSC-Radcliffe Fellow 2018-19

Sky Hopinka is a Ho-Chunk Nation national and descendent of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. An associate professor of film, video, and animation at Simon Fraser University, he is a video artist and language teacher. He studied and taught Chinuk Wawa, a language indigenous to the Lower Columbia River Basin. His work centers around personal positions of homeland and landscape, designs of language and facets of culture contained within, and the play between the accessibility of the known and the unknowable.

As a Radcliffe fellow, Hopinka is working on post production for a Imał, a feature-length experimental film wandering through a neomythological approach to explore an Indigenous presence of language and culture in the Pacific Northwest.

Hopinka’s work has played at various festivals and exhibitions, including ImagineNATIVE Media + Arts Festival, Projections at the New York Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival’s Wavelengths, the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and the 2018 FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. He received the More with Less Award at the 2016 Images Festival, a Tom Berman Award for Most Promising Filmmaker at the 54th Ann Arbor Film Festival, and a 2017 Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowship for Individual Artists. Hopinka earned his BA in liberal arts from Portland State University and his MFA in film, video, animation, and new genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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FSC Works

Still from Sky Hopinka's "Towards the Ocean, Towards the Shore"

maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore

Sky Hopinka, 81 min. 2020

(pronounced: moth-nee)

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.