Interview with Sunshine O'Donovan


How did you get involved in the Shana film?

One of my mom's friends called us and asked if I would like to be a girl who plays the violin in a movie so I said yes, not expecting it to be the main role in the movie. So I went to the Lower Nicola Indian Band office to audition for it. During the first audition I met the director, Nino, who took my picture and made a quick video of me playing violin. A few days later, they asked me to go to act some scenes, such as eating from a bowl, and sadly to look at my mama's violin, so they could see how I looked and spoke on camera. I was very nervous, but I did it anyways. After a week or so, I was asked if I wanted to read the script. I read the script and I liked it very much and I said: Yes, I try out for the role.

What did you expect when you heard you would work with the Swiss crew? 

I expected them to be more nervous since they weren't in their country and they didn't know our ways, but they were fine. They actually loved Merritt. I felt fine with them. In the end we grew to be a tight family.

What was it like working everyday with the film crew? What kind of activities did you enjoy with which people?

It was lots of fun because we always had something to talk about. I enjoyed doing the tango with Delilah who one day just started dancing with me so every time after that when we saw each other we danced the tango. Lev the TAD always made cat noises at me, sometimes we would act like cats. April the makeup artist taught me how to draw horses and human noses. Many times you could see us together drawing something. I learned a lot from them.

Which film crew jobs interested you?

I think being the sound mixer would be cool because you could hear so many sounds that most people don't hear. After the film, I discovered that reflecting light onto my brother so I could take his school photo was a lot of fun, but being the gaffer would also be a lot of work. There is a lot of special lighting in the film and you have to move big lights around and try to work with the natural light too.

What do you think was the hardest job on the film crew?

I think being the script supervisor would be the hardest job because you have to remember so much. For example, if in one scene I had my braids in the front, then in two scenes away (that might be filmed on a different day), it would have to be the same. The scenes we shot are out of sequence so Suze, the script supervisor, had to write down the details. She had to pay constant attention to everything. That is is a tough job.

What was your favourite time during the making of the Shana film? 

My favourite day was when we were shooting at the waterfall near Campbell River. It was so beautiful. I actually had to go into the water for a shot but luckily I had a wetsuit. That day I also got to feed the wolf called Britt some bread.

What was the funniest time or thing you heard or saw or experienced during the making of the Shana film? 

Before I went to the film wrap party for Merritt I built my friend Delilah a hat with a pinwheel that twirled. Delilah and I ran around the building. And whenever she ran the pinwheel spun.

Would you like to do more acting roles in the future?

I would like to because you have so much fun on set, but I don't want acting to be my only career.


More Questions


What is your favourite colour? Where does it exist in nature?

My favourite colour is green. Green is the colour of life reappearing in moist mossy fern forests and seaweed strewn over a fresh, soothing sea shore.

What is your favourite creature?

My favourite animal is a cat because they're free do to what they choose while dogs can do whatever you want. Our cat, Levi, also catches mice in our 100-year-old house, but not when we want him to do that.

What is your favourite song or type of music?

I like classical because its usually so calm and peaceful. My brother, Dakota, also plays classical piano a lot so I've had to get used to it. My other brother, Ramon, plays violin and taught me some.

How would you describe your favourite styles of clothing? Why do you prefer those styles?

My favourite style is blue jeans and a solid color t-shirt. I like green and blue because the colours remind me of summer and they are casual and comfy.

Who is your favourite artist?

I like Vincent Van Gogh's paintings because it looked as if he put a lot of hard work into his paintings. I also like how he uses a lot of bright colours in his paintings.

What sports do you like?

I like soccer because you have to work together as a team. I also participate in cross country skiing, kayaking, swimming, and horse riding. I like running because it makes me feel free from everything, free even from the world.

What sports and/or hobbies would you like to try?

I would like to try beach volleyball because it looks fun. When the 2012 Summer Olympics came on TV I watched the women play and they inspired me to try something new. I want to try lots of sports now the movie is done because during filming I wasn't allowed the risk to get hurt. So I want to make up for the times I couldn't play sports during the summer of filming.

What are your favourite games to play along or with others?

I like playing handshake murderer. In the game you get to pick if you want to be the detective, the doctor or the murderer. The murderer has to go and shake someone's hand and blink at them. The doctor heals people who s/he thinks is in danger. The doctor shakes your hand and smiles. The detective has to look for the murderer and when s/he thinks s/he has found the murderer you have to say "I'm the detective and I think it's you!" If you are wrong you fall to the ground, and you can't play anymore.

What are your favourite books?

I like the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer because Artemis uses all his cunning to get things that he wants. I liked how the author builds interesting and believable characters. I also enjoyed the Eragon series because that young author was very descriptive as well as a homeschooler, like me.

What movies have you seen that you really remembered or liked?

I liked the Lord of the Rings because of the beautiful landscapes. I also liked their costumes.

If you could travel anywhere, on this planet or in space, where would you go and why?

I would go to Hawaii and see the place my mom is always talking about. I would like to learn how to surf there too.

If you could travel in time (past, present or future), where would you go and why?

I would go to Switzerland to see all the crew. Plus it would be a vacation too.

If you could invite anyone (from any time or place) to dinner, whom would you invite?

I would invite my friend Sophie (who worked on the movie) to dinner because I miss her. She went back to Switzerland with her mother. Sophie taught me how to work the movie slate, which starts every scene when you are filming. It is the the square thing that has the movie's name, the scene number, and the names of the director and director of photography. You wait to hear "The camera is rolling." Then you clap the two sides together and run away.

What are your favourite subjects for learning?

My favourite subject is biology because I'm a Naturalist. I like to learn about plants and animals in my homeland. My family is helping to study amphibians in our valley. In the spring we go out to lakes and ponds to count frogs, toads and salamanders, so we can check how global warming is affecting us. I have my own little garden for vegetables too. In our yard we have a lot of fruit trees and a few nut trees, so it is nice to make apple cider and eat from our own garden and make compost for it'.

How do you feel about music? Do you play instruments or dance?

I like music. I played the piano and now I'm playing the violin. I don't dance much but I will be taking some dancing lessons for swing, salsa and the cha-cha-cha in Kelowna. I'm going to start this weekend. My brother is going with me. We will probably be the only kids there.

What is your favourite meal? What is your favourite fruit? What is your favourite vegetable? 

My favourite meal is perogies with farmer sausage and sour cream. My favourite fruit is peaches. My favourite vegetable is carrots.

Who is your favourite current pet? What pet would you like to have that you don't have now?

That's a hard choice. But my three favourites are our two dogs: Misha, the German Shepard and Zeus, the black labrador mix. I also love our Siamese applehead cat called Levi. He likes to sleep on my bed. I would like a ferret because they're cute and I've wanted one for years.

Describe your siblings and what you like best about them. 

My middle brother Dakota is 15 and has curly hair and is 6 feet tall. He is quiet and shy. He loves sports, especially kayaking and skate skiing. Dakota also plays piano. I like Dakota because he is funny and kind. My eldest brother, Ramon, is 22 and has long,straight hair and is 5 foot 11 inches. He is talkative and proud. He likes reading better than sports. Ramon also plays violin. I love Ramon because he is always willing to help me with violin. He was my chaperone during the film. I always knew that he was there if I needed him.

What are your strengths as a person? 

I am a great runner. I ran the Merritt Country Run 5km in 27:37. I came in 6th place of all the females of all ages, 3rd in my age group and 24th place for all ages, men or women. There were about 150 runners in that race.

What are your challenges as a person?

Sometimes I can get envious at other people or animals because I want to be good at everything.

Do you have any hobbies or pastimes? 

I like reading and running. I like reading because you're in a different world when you read a book. Running is fun because I feel free when I run.

What is your favorite season of the year?

My favorite season is spring because animals come out and everything is anew.

What is your pet peeve? (A pet peeve is some little thing that may not bother other people but really bugs you!)

I really hate it when people force me to do something.

What is your biggest fear? How do you deal with it? 

My biggest fear is making enemies. I try to be kind to everybody and if someone says something negative I don't listen.

What characteristics do you look for in a friend? What characteristics do you not like in people?

The person must be kind and caring. I don't like it when people don't try their hardest and are not confident in themselves. I feel sad that they don't believe in themselves.

Complete the following statement: "Some words I live by are..." 

Some words I live by are "Never give up and lose focus. If you really want something, you'll go out and get it."


Sunshine O'Donovan's Biography

Sunshine O'Donovan describes her life.