Two Nicola Valley groups are hoping to send two local actors to Zurich, Switzerland for the premiere of the locally-shot movie they starred in.

Merritt SaySo Expression Society president Mil Juricic and Merritt and District Chamber of Commerce manager Etelka Gillespie are spearheading an initiative to raise funds to send the two lead actors from the movie Shana: The Wolf’s Music to the premiere of the Swiss film.

Come March, they are hoping to send Lower Nicola Indian Band member Sunshine O’Donovan, who plays the main character, Shana, and fellow cast member Delilah Dick, who plays Shana’s teacher and mentor, to the film’s premiere in Zurich.

Juricic and Gillespie are looking at ways to fundraise for the trip.

Juricic told the Herald the non-profit SaySo and the local chamber of commerce recently put in a grant proposal with Rotary Club of Merritt Sunrise.

Juricic said they are looking at sending the pair to Zurich for 10 to 12 days.

Gillespie said it should cost about $7,000 to send the pair on the roundtrip to Switzerland.

“We’re doing stuff on the cheap here,” Juricic said.

The two actors plan to take some of the dresses they wore in the film to wear at the premiere as well.

“It’s [about] creating a presence and enough of a profile that people say ‘Oh, gee, we want to see that film in our country,’” Juricic said, noting the hope is there will be film distributors at the premiere.

Gillespie said the actors also plan to tour schools around Zurich to talk about the film and Canadian life in Lower Nicola.

Juricic said he also hopes to submit the film to be shown at some film festivals, such as the Berlin Film Festival or even the Sundance Film Festival.

The film will also likely see a debut in Canada and Juricic said they are lobbying to get that premiere brought to Merritt next spring.

Juricic said SaySo, the chamber of commerce and the Thompson-Nicola Film Commission are working to promote the locally-shot film as much as possible.

“There’s been a number of films, Hollywood included, that have done films in this area. This one is particularly precious because it’s about this area,” Juricic said.

The film was directed by Switzerland’s Nino Jacusso and made in conjunction with Switzerland’s Reck Filmproduktions and Vancouver’s Red Cedar Films.

There are 50 speaking roles in the movie — including six lead actors — and 95 per cent of them are First Nations.

Even Juricic has a small speaking role in the film.

“What’s unique about this production is that it hasn’t been peppered by famous Hollywood actors or anything.”

“All the acting is done by real, local people who are in the film,” Juricic said, noting the Nicola Valley isn’t portrayed as a different part of the world in this movie, but rather as itself.

The film is about a 13-year-old Canadian First Nations girl who is a gifted violinist. After her father sells her violin to pay a debt, Shana steals it back, takes to the wilderness and discovers a new form of musical expression leading to her acceptance to a Vancouver music school. While in the wilderness, she connects with a wolf that protects her.

The film was filmed in the Nicola Valley last summer.

Juricic said anyone who has an idea for fundraising for this cause can contact the chamber of commerce office at (250) 378-5634.