Canadian Sarah Polley is a triple threat: actress, director, and activist. Polley first broke into the film world by acting in series such as Ramona and Road to Avonlea. Her stellar roles in Straight Up and in the 1997 film The Sweet Hereafter, were what brought her considerable attention in the United States. She won the Gemini Award for Best Performance in a “Children’s or Youth Program or Series” and became a fan favorite at the Sundance Film Festival.
She made her directorial debut with the film Away from Her, for which she won a Genie Award for Best Achievement in Direction and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. She continued her career as a director with Take This Waltz and her latest and first feature length documentary The Stories We Tell.
Polley’s mother died when she was only eleven years old. Later in her life she discovered that her biological father was actually Harry Gulkin, a British actor, and not Michael Polley. Polley’s mother had had an affair with Gulkin while working on a play in Montreal. Her documentary The Stories We Tell deals with this discovery and chronicles her mother’s affair and the accidental meeting with Gulkin.
“I enjoy doing my more intimate and less commercial pictures and also I enjoy directing.” — Sarah Polley. The Stories We Tell reflects this interest and displays her commitment to pursuing genuine and personal style of filmmaking.
Polley is known for her strong political and social activism. She wore a peace sign to a 1991 awards ceremony for children’s television in Washington D.C., to protest the First Gulf War, which led to a disagreement with Disney who was employing her at the time. She was active in protests against the Provincial Progressive Conservative government, but has since scaled down her activism to focus on filmmaking.
ÉCU wishes to congratulate her latest film successes and hopes to see much more of Polley’s independent, progressive filmmaking in the future!