Stories We Tell: A post by Sarah Polley

Stories We Tell: A post by Sarah Polley

Stories We Tell: A post by Sarah Polley

The following is a guest post from filmmaker Sarah Polley about her new film, Stories We Tell.

***

Today in Venice my latest film, Stories We Tell, will be screening for the first time. Until now, thanks to the extraordinary decency of many people – including some journalists who have known the story for years and kept it secret – I have been able to keep its contents under wraps.

Knowing that people will now write about the film itself as well as the story it is based on, I’d like to explain a bit of the process that lead to the making of the film and why I’d like the film to speak for itself. I realize that I’m not nearly accomplished enough to write this kind of blog without apology. The world is not waiting for my next film! But because I am hoping to not do any press or interviews about the film for its festival life, I do feel I owe an explanation to the journalists who have helped me keep this secret and been respectful of my process for some time.

Here is the story of how this film came to be, and why I hope people will write about the film itself and not only the story it is based on.

In 2007 I was on set in Montreal, shooting a scene for the film Mr. Nobody. I received a phone call from a friend warning me that a journalist had found out a piece of information about my life that I had kept a secret for a year. I got in touch with the journalist and begged him not to print the story. It was a story that I had kept  secret from many people in my life including my father. It took some time and many tears to convince the journalist not to print the story within the week, but I left that conversation convinced that it was not a secret I could keep for long, and that if I wanted the people in my life and outside my life to know the story in my own words, I would have to take action.

I flew to Toronto that night to tell my father the news. He was not my biological father. This had been confirmed by a DNA test with a man I had met a year earlier. I had met my biological father almost by accident, though I had long suspected based on family jokes and rumours that my mother may have had an affair that led to my conception.

My father’s response to this staggering piece of news was extraordinary. He has always been a man who responds to things in unusual ways, for better or for worse. He was shocked, but not angry. His chief concern, almost immediately, was that my siblings and I not put any blame on my mother for her straying outside of their marriage. He was candid about his own lack of responsiveness towards her and how that may have led her to the point where she sought out the affection of another person. And then he began to write. And write and write and write.

He wrote the story of their marriage, her affair (which he put together from other people’s memories), and his relationship with me. He wrote about our need to tell stories.

My biological father, at my behest, had also begun writing the story of his relationship with my mother. He is a fine storyteller too and one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Each of us had a deep and growing need to tell the story, different parts of it, in different ways, with emphasis on different details, in a way that reflected our own experience and what was most important to us as we are now.

My siblings began telling the story to their friends. Journalists who heard the story from various sources began calling me and asking me to be interviewed about this discovery. Everyone who heard the story seemed to want to own it. Up until then many people had mused aloud to me that the story would make a great film. I disagreed. While it had huge relevance and emotional impact for the people close to it, I felt that this story was in fact quite common. I felt I had seen this film before. However, the process of watching a story take on a life of its own, mutate, and change in so many other people’s words fascinated me.  And as the story was told, or perhaps because the story was told – it changed. So I decided to make a film about our need to tell stories, to own our stories, to understand them, and to have them heard.

Personal documentaries have always made me a bit squeamish. I’ve seen some brilliant ones, but they often push the boundaries of narcissism and can feel more like a form of therapy than actual filmmaking. (Though I could listen to anyone’s therapy session and be entertained, I think.)

I’m not claiming that my film lacks self involvement but what I wanted most was to examine the many versions of this story, how people held onto them, how they agreed and disagreed with each other, and how powerful and necessary creating narrative is for us to make sense of our bewildering lives. I wanted the story told in the words of everyone I could find who could speak about it. Whatever my own feelings are about the events that are outlined, about the many dynamic and complicated players or the stunning, vibrant woman my mother was, they are ephemeral, constantly out of my grasp, they change as the years pass. (I declined to use a “voice of God” first person voice over narration because it felt false, self involved, and besides the point.) But I found I could lose myself in the words of the people closest to me. I can feel and hear and see their histories, and I wanted to get lost, immerse myself in those words, and be a detective in my own life and family.

Anything I want to say myself about this part of my life is said in the film. It’s a search still, a search for meaning, truth, for whether there can ever be a truth. I have a lot of trepidation about doing interviews and being asked how I feel about it all. I worry about seeing my deepest feelings about my life taken out of context or shortened or made to fit into someone’s already written story. And I have spent five years deciding, frame by frame and word by word, how to tell this story in this film. I’d hate to see my inability to think before I speak wipe out years of work with one stupid comment that I haven’t thought through.

I have decided not to do any interviews about this film until the film is released theatrically and I hope that doesn’t offend, or that journalists who are assigned to cover the film understand this choice after seeing it. I’m sure it’s annoying to not have a new angle or a different quote than other journalists and I’m really sorry to create that problem for the people who decide to write about it. But I desperately want, at least while the film is on the festival circuit, to have people experience and write about the film before the story – or to experience the many stories that this story has become as opposed to just my version of it. It is, after all, why I made the film in the first place.  It’s oblique I know. The film is much less oblique than this fearfully written blog. I’m trying to preserve as much of the experience of viewing it for the first time as I can for those who wish to see it, for better or for worse.

I learned so much along the way.  I got to know my mother who died when I was 11 in a way that isn’t usually possible for people who lose parents young. I got to know so much about my family, about filmmaking, about trusting collaborators to keep making the movie when you need to just walk away for a time (for this I have to especially thank my editor Mike Munn, my DOP Iris Ng, Producer Anita Lee and Production Coordinator Kate Vollum, as well as others, who all kept on making the film while I hid in a corner for periods of time). I also learned that people can be more decent and ethical than you imagine. Several journalists, including Brian Johnson and Matthew Hays (and more recently Gabe Gonda, the arts editor at The Globe and Mail), have known this story for years.  And while they very much wanted to print it, they all respected my wish to keep this story private until I was ready to tell it in my own words. I think arts journalists in Canada are made of good material generally. I’m so thankful to them for letting me have the space to explore this on my own, ask the questions I wanted to ask, and let this film come out into the world. I never could have made it if I hadn’t had that space and time.

Making this film was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It took five years and tormented me. I didn’t want to make it, and I wanted to give up many times along the way, but I also didn’t want this story to be out there in the words of someone other than the many people who lived it. Now it will be written about in many other people’s words, and I’m finally at peace with that. With the inaccuracies, with the new insights that I may not have arrived at on my own, with the broken telephone that happens when “concentric circles of people,” as my biological father says, begin telling their own stories without experiencing the original versions. That is what the film is about anyway and after five long years I’m actually looking forward to its arrival in the world, and the inevitable mess that comes from a story being told and retold.

Comments are closed.
  1. I have been watching your movie tonight on CBC TV Montreal and . I was watching it I saw my house in your movie when Harry was coming out of his mothers house on Strother and Avenue in Montreal west so strange I was trying to piece together to Harry was I think perhaps he was the brother of Ruth who used to live there. Not sure but your production was a great story bravo to you . Judy Kennedy

    — Judy Kennedy,
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  6. I just watched the full “Stories we tell,” after I viewed some bits on TV. I want to say that Sara is indeed lucky, for having the unconditional love of the man who raised her as his own – and for having genes from two gifted artists. Sara could do without her siblings, who do not show much love or compassion for Sara.
    Her mother Dianne remains a puzzle – seemingly loving her husband and her children, yet straying with other men, one of them Sara’s father. There was also the actor who tried his best to deny his affair with Dianne – the lies that some people tell.
    Michael is a gentleman, by taking responsibility for his wife’s affairs. Michael stated the truth, that he got the best of the situation – he remained with Dianne, and got to raise and love Sara. What a sweet and sad man. It warmed my heart watching Sara and Michael building a snowman together.
    My only observation relates to the mixing of real movie clips with re-enactments. Trying to figure out which was real took my mind away from the story. I am grateful that Dianne decided to have Sara, and that ow we get to enjoy her talent. I loved Away From Her. Sara, I look forward to watching your next project, whatever it might be.

    — Jenna Smith,
  7. This was an amazing eloquent body of work. Can truly relate.

    sharon,
  8. Sarah I love your work. You are amazing. Beautiful, talented just awesome. I would love to meet you one day. Take It Easy and Take Care. J.F.K.

  9. Hey Sarah, sooo i just watched your Documentary yesterday. It’s not the greatest movie i ever saw or anything, but as a film i think the memory of seeing it will remain unique.

    It was to me very understandable why U made this movie in this way. U Being a public figure, and the subject having complicated facets, the story would always be misconstrued by media and the public into the future…..if not told properly.
    However,
    I was surprised that it was not better explored in the movie about how troubled your mother would have been living in a SECOND situation with a family and an on-going affair. Some part of her must have been MORTALLY FEARFUL that she may have the repeated experience of having her family torn away from her for a second time. Even if such a fear is not rational, having experienced it in the past must have had a SERIOUS effect over her……don’t you think?

    — David Mercury,
  10. If you have seen or read greek tragedies or seen and liked the profound David Lean’s «Brief Encounter» film, then you must no doubt see this deeply moving Sarah Polley’s «Stories We Tell»

    — Jean Antonin Billard,
  11. I’m a writer and Presbyterian minister in Scotland. I think this is a stunning movie – brave and imaginative. It raises all manner of interesting questions about truth – who owns the truth? Are we all unreliable narrators? What is the relationship between subconscious processes and so-called “objective” truth? If I may throw a theological reference into the mix: Pontius Pilate’s ancient question, “What is truth?” has profound resonances here. It was only after watching the film that I realised that Sarah also directed one of my favourite movies, Away From Her, based on a short story by the great Alice Munro. Sarah Polley is one seriously talented film maker – I’m grateful for her work.

    — Ron Ferguson,
  12. I wrote a review on Amazon.ca about this film. I think Sarah is one of the most brilliant minds of film- writing and directing. She understands human relationships and the dynamics of how people relate to one another.

    — Randolph Ouimet,
  13. Dear Julie Matlin, I hope you can read this comment of mine which is only partially linked with your post. I truly wish you can contact me through email as I would need your help for a professional advice regarding Sarah Polley’s work. I do contact you through this website as I’m Italian and this is the only way I found to be in contact with you so far.
    Looking forward to reading you soon.
    Best regards,
    Filippo

  14. I have just seen the film in Germany. Riveting, yes. Captivating from beginning to end. Well made, a gem, all that. Questions remain. Why was the term “betrayal” not mentioned once? It was the mother’s ongoing betrayal that has haunted, shaped and scarred this family. The affair is one thing. Putting a child into the world another. But the continued lying and manipulating for decades, withholding crucial information about her origins from her daughter (in order to protect herself), fooling everyone about her own true character, it’s all too easily excused, it’s not even considered a topic. A narcissistic person running a whole family into the ground, that’s what I got from it. Her father when he finally finds out and rushes into defending the perpetrator, looks “noble”, while this is a normal reaction to trauma. And the bio-dad got the short end of the stick more than anyone, having to play along, agreeing to not having a relationship with his daughter. What a crime that was! Everyone’s rights were trampled on. But the mother who controlled all of them is made into a saint! The younger one of the brothers was the only one who voiced genuine feelings, he felt “disappointed by his mother”. Good for him. What Sarah really felt, what she went through, we can only guess. She made everyone else talk, but she herself did not reveal anything, or very little. Maybe you need real therapy to overcome a trauma like this one…and then you don’t need to make a movie anymore.

    Don’t get me wrong, I feel for this family. And I have always loved Sarah Polley in all her films, she is terrific as an actrice. (Ironically, most of all as the trauma victim in “Das geheime Leben der Worte”.) I just wish she had made more out of her story than an example of political correctness where a woman’s destructive behavior can never be called by its name, where guilt is not even a concept, where women who get away with murder are considered “fun-loving” and “vibrant”. We are too afraid to put blame where blame belongs. Denial will never lead to healing. There is no excuse for lying to your loved ones. Not even when you get away with it. It’s not “mysterious”, it’s just morally low and irresponsible (or most likely, the result of mental illness). I wondered all along what her mother’s story was, did Sarah ever explore that, there was a whole piece missing. Apart from her escaping from her parents and rushing into her first marriage. “She left all of us flailing in her wake….”. Sarah was right about that. I hope they will all find a good therapist. Getting to the real truth is usually less entertaining. It is a very private and painful process, but vital in the end. (And I admit, the movie made me think, even days after. I guess that’s a good sign.)

    — Dorothea,
  15. When will Sarah reveal her own transgressions, her own involvement with married men?
    She is very comfortable revealing her mother – perhaps as a way of excusing her own behaviour?

    — Rolande,
  16. I believe that anyone in deep pain over their past is going to question “everything” at some point…certainly the existence of God for one thing. I remember watching “Ramona” as a child with our daughter who was only three years old at the time. Never in my wildest imagination would I have guessed Sarah Polley’s “real life” to be so complicated. But as is true with so many of us in this world, wierd things happen—bad things happen—crazy things happen—it is what it is. I feel that Michael Polley is a complete gentleman for handling this whole situation as graciously as he did. I also feel Diane Polley was probably bipolar–but only her family knows if she was diagnosed and/or properly treated for it. My feeling is “not”…for the obvious reasons. I believe also that Harry Gulkin obviously regretted “losing” both Diane and Sarah (as Michael pointed out in the film)—so of course he would present like somewhat of a sore loser. But the DNA don’t lie. And Sarah is certainly Harry’s daughter beyond (what I hope!) was a good enough upbringing at the hands of Michael after Diane’s death. I hope everyone involved finds the inner peace they need…and that Sarah’s daughter will see and look for what’s good, right, beautiful, and true in her own life in spite of all…

    — marydee,
  17. I just viewed this movie. I though that it was wonderful. A beautiful story about a very talented woman and the amazing people in her life. My mom passed away last year, and i can relate to the great loss that Sarah must feel. Although this happens in many families, it took great courage for Sarah to make a movie about a topic that is taboo in many households.

    — Evelyn,
  18. I have never wanted to seek out and thank a film maker so much as I have after seeing your film. You have created a very special film that – as you wanted it to – speaks very clearly for itself. Ironically, I’m just not sure it that it tells the story you set out to tell! To my mind, while you were busy trying to create a story about how “stories have a mind of their own”, you ended up piecing together remarkable living proof of the notion that “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Seriously. Collectively your family has had to confront adultery, affairs, lies, deception, divorces and no doubt much more – few of which your grandparents would have ever dared mention in their day for the scandal of it all – and yet all I could see was a really warm, compassionate, brave bunch of people that epitomize what family really means. Thank you all for being the people you are – people that may well have emerged from a family like so many others, but whose story has so much to tell all of us about how life truly is.

    Paul,
  19. Havn’t seen ‘The Stories We Tell’
    Rather not remember my play ‘Toronto’ in which Sarah’s mom played a journalist on stage while playing a lot wth Harry Gulkin off-stage
    She was a solid up front person like Sarah and made the stereotype character I presented her with,work better than the script deserved
    Later on we laughed together about how bad the production was..people saying..its a parody,right?..No,but it became one.
    Tom Butler was the only one that took the play serious and that made it even funnier
    Bravo Sarah

    — David Fennario,
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  21. Hi there Sarah and all -I caught up with this film whilst in a Community Convention in Brasilia befpre Christmas.There was a lot of different reactions – the women I was with had experienced some of the emotional dynamics and had gone through death and endings and new beginnings of relationships.
    Its a very powerful and moving film – its very hard to judge people I am progressively finding out. I hope this gets sufficient recognition in the New Year.There are a lot of lessons that the group of us took away.Well done!

  22. I just saw the film this week and found it so beautiful and profoundly moving that I wanted to seek out more information about it and its maker. I have seen some of your work before, Sarah, but nothing that begins to touch the incredible sensitivity and beauty of this film. There were so many ways in which this story (stories) could be told; not all of them so forgiving of our imperfections. I loved how you honoured everyone’s perspective and pieced together each of the narratives into such an authentic whole. It speaks to so much in the human condition and transcends the story of just one family to embrace us all. You have an incredible gift – both as a human being and as a filmmaker. This was, perhaps, the film “you were born to make”.

    — VIcki Preston,
  23. I just saw your film,Sarah,here on Saltspring Island,BC.
    It’s a marvellous film.
    Everyone in it is fantastic,….especially your dad.
    There is so much love and so much virtue to be experienced here.
    Loved the ending!
    Getting it all into 108 minutes shows what a remarkable,talented filmaker you are.
    But you had such excellent material to work with.
    Every person in that film is remarkable.
    I think it is therapeutic. It seemed…cleansing.
    One is left with feeling the goodness and genuineness of human beings.
    I got a ride home after the film with other women.
    The three of us got out of the car, stood in the fresh evening air and had a group HUG.

    — myna lee johnstone,
  24. Why such anger and judgement directed towards Sarah? MacPap, Dicipres, et al seem all too eager to bite down. Salt on wounds? Exploitation is about the powerful using the powerless. Sarah is powerless in terms of her origins – it is put upon her as the fact of her existence. Imagine the fundamental crisis of self you would experience when who are you – your every origins, composition, traits and family – isn’t as it was advertized for so many years. That’s more salt on Sarah’s wounds than any one else in the mix.

    Her movie not only addresses the theme of storytelling and the difficulty in have “the truth” versus a multiplicity of equally valid “truths”; it also addresses the complex emotions (raw and muted) that befall all the players involved. My story is not much different (biological parents appears in my early 30s) and the general responses in my circles were much like those in Sarah’s circles. It was extraordinary to see a thoughtful movie that captured the experience so accurately and carefully – and without descending to easy routes of anger or blame.

    — Christopher,
    1. I found all the judgemental and angry comments very interesting. I think Sarah has courage to bring this story to light. These events happen in many families, but most people prefer to cover up the truth. Sarah told a story that is taboo to many people. She was the product of an affair. It is not our place to judge her or her mother’s actions.

      — Evelyn,
  25. I saw the movie yesterday evening at CPH: DOX. It is a captivating and gifted film. Rarely the personal stories appear on film, with humor, intelligence and deep respect for all involved. This film is a personal masterpiece with a story told so we can all recognize parts of the drama or the special family secrets that exists in all families. This film is a MUST SEE. Thank you to Sarah Polly who have the courage and wisdom to unfold her own destiny out in public. This film is full of vitality, humor, death, passion, great love and tremendous respect for her family.

    — Simon Bang,
  26. I saw Stories We Tell last night and spontaniously applauded at the end – it was brilliant – moving – and I will recomment it to all my friends – Congratulations Sarah Polley – this is Academy Award stuff. Patience Ellis

  27. This is a beautiful film, exquisitely sequenced, profoundly moving. My seatmate, and I, strangers, talked for 20 minutes after the movie about what was the most moving moment, the most revelatory, and what part of our own lives was awakened in memory, and then went our separate ways. The audience sighed, laughed and clapped during the movie — people, like this tall fellow I sat beside — turned to the person beside them, to catch their eye — as Ondaatje said of the first audiences for Chaplin’s films in In the Skin of a Lion. This film has the power of invention, reportage, and that rueful Canadian openess. Anything Ms Polley does from now on as a director has this extraordinary foundation.

    — helen brown,
  28. Hi! I don’t know if this will go to Sarah, but last night I saw her movie at Rio’s international film festival.
    I would like to say that the movie is amazing, its complete and i’m aware that the family story is just the subject. The ways of telling a story is what is important here. The teather was full and everyone seems to be looking for a narrative process than to know who was her father. Congratulations!
    I wish I could talk to you more, not about the personnal details, but the making of it. If this is posible, please contact me. It’s research for me. And thanks for the great and sensible movie!

    tati,
  29. Sarah, I am riveted just reading your story here, This must have been the most difficult movie as well as the most fascinating to make, a real artistic challenge. I am looking forward to seeing how you have portrayed all the stories in the movie.

  30. I wonder if this film is available on DVD? Thanks for the post… and for sharing the story from your own point of view. Keep doing what you are doing its great indeed. It will be great to watch this film now!

    Ibukun,
    1. Hi: I don’t have a DVD date yet, but the film is being released theatrically in Canada next month (October 2012). There will be a US theatrical release in early 2013.

      — Julie Matlin,
  31. Sarah, the one film I missed at this year’s TIFF!. When where will it be screened here in Toronto?

    1. Hi Jim,
      Thanks for your question.
      Stories We Tell will screen in Toronto this October. We don’t have the exact dates yet but will be sure to post them here when we do.
      Kindest,
      Carolyne

  32. I must say I disagree with most of the responses. I was deeply touched and felt for Sarah Polley, who obviously went through this in catharsis kind of way. One feels it was really a deep case of need and that’s it. It’s great that she managed to document it in this film form – BRAVO !

    ( Sara – if you read this; plaese get in touch – as I’m distributing your “take Thgis Waltz” in Poland and really wanted to invite you and your family to Poland for the film’s premiere- (your husband’s Polish – right?) – and roll out the carpet and all. ) – cheers, x jacek

  33. Sarah Polley, you are awesome. Keep being you and keep doing what you’re doing. You share the other side of life with class. Anyone who has lived even a little will get it and love it. And that’s a lot of people. This film wil be amazing to watch. Thanks for it, and this post!
    Much love for your work,
    Phyllis

  34. No matter how this is taken Sarah put her financial dad in an impossible situation. I am not your bio-child. Mom lied, I lied and all these journalist wanted to tell the prurient truth. These journalist are simply exploiters and have no better business then to truck their trade to E-News, which is of little consequence. Sarah says she is still on the journey, but since we all are what great truth is being shared?

    For those petty enough to be interested they say everything. Lies, sex, betrayal, exploitation and cuckoldry. Macp, said this already.

    I have watched every one of Sarah’s films, but this I can’t care about. Give us real truth, real questions and real answers if you got them. These stories have been played out in too many Springer, Maury – Oprah’s crap shows already.

    Since I like Sarah and as a consumer of the products she creates, I will ignore this misstep and trust her to right the course by creating something grander than the mundane betrayals of families and lies common to most of us.

    Apologies to your financial Dad and do whatever to your bio-dad, and get on with your life.

    To the petty journalist, find a story worthy of effort and try something that truly affects us all. Special hell awaits the gossiper deluded with dreams of journalism. You are the scum, just below lawyers.

    — Portman,
  35. “Either way, she is advancing her career by rubbing salt in his wounds.”

    Its the Hollywood way.

    — Shade,
  36. Dicipres, it wasn’t hers to tell and her mother was gone. Don’t put that kind of pressure on someone — it could have destroyed her family. Just because she knows something doesn’t mean she has to champion it and out her mother in a negative way. Sarah didn’t do anything wrong, she was caught in the middle. She went to her father with it when she was able and ready to do so. You just don’t get it.

    — Maureen,
  37. If she refused to discuss the state of their marriage, Diane’s betrayal is double.

    I wonder if the film shows Michael’s inner torment, rage and deep sadness…or his temptation to withdraw and kiss it all goodbye; or is it just about what his daughter wants and he has to accept, whether he likes it or not?

    Either way, she is advancing her career by rubbing salt in his wounds.

    This man has class: clearly a mismatch from the start.

    — MacPap,
  38. You lied to your father for years, keeping him living in a lie, (just continuing the work of mother), and than blame others with lack of ethics? What ethics are you talking about, the ethics of cuckoldry?

    1. What! You knew and said nothing till it served your turn?

      — MacPap,
  39. I’m curious to experience how much universal truth is found in this unfolding process. I’m curious to see the images, actions and sequences. My fingers are crossed Best wishes to Sarah and all those directly involved with the original stories.

  40. shame on the journalist
    what “public interest” is there in publishing something like that?

    — jeffg,
  41. What a thoughtful, honest post. I’m floored by how brave this is, and how brilliant I think this film concept is. I’ve been a fan of Sarah’s for many years (since the days of Road to Avonlea), and I’ve really loved her last two films. I think she’s an incredible director and writer, and I am so excited to see how Sarah has interpreted the “stories we tell” ourselves to make our lives work.

    Thank you, Sarah, for this post. I can’t wait to see the film.

    Tiff,
    1. I can.
      You clearly have decided to push your father’s humiliation and injury beyond any limits of human decency.
      He deserves better than either of you.

      — MacPap,
    2. selfish nonsense your judgement and it is about you not about Sarah or her two fathers..
      wonderful film, moving post by Sarah… love crosses boundaries and the story is about love.

      — sam bryks,
    1. This is an incredibly courageous post Sarah. Nothing short of what I’d expect from you:) Sending you e-hugs right now!

    2. Nothing courageous here.
      Just cowardice and deceit from one generation to the next.

      — MacPap,
    3. Dear MacPap: As someone who has no connection with the events related in the film, and who has (by your own admission) no interest in seeing it, you’ve already had your say. It’s enough. Please go and get help for your anger. That goes for all of the other petty moralists who have sprayed their outrage all over this discussion. The director and her family don’t share your outrage, and it’s of no interest to the rest of us. Thanks to Sarah Polley, her family and collaborators for a very fine and moving film.

      — Emmie,
    4. Well said Emmie… I find that MacPap is an angry negative personality … and her posts here are ugly and miss the point totally.. about MacPap not about Sarah or her fathers. I have seen the film and it is really amazing and brave and wonderful… the negative comments are by people who really miss the entire point by many miles.. I agree with Emmie’s thanks very very much..

      — sam bryks,
  42. Sarah Polly is a talented, honest director and Iris Ng is a wonderful, thoughtful DOP. I expect Stories We Tell to be a powerful film.

    — ddmb,
  43. Sarah, My goodness; how lovely, how brave, how human. I thank you so deeply for sharing this story, and having faith in your process… Brava, Matthew

    1. Who cares?
      Do you always exploit another man’s misery to promo yourself?

      — MacPap,
    2. Where is your misery coming from, MacPap? Unfortunately you do not exploit it nearly as well, and thus I suspect your story is predictable and boring. But if not, please provide some context!

      — HumanExperience,
    3. The man I knew to be my father died of a heart attack when I was five. He was forty-six years old. I did not discover that I actually had a different father until I was in my early fifties … too late to talk with my Mom about it, and too late to establish a relationship with my real father who had suffered a stroke.

      I have memories of my real father, Ted, visiting my Mom after Dad died. This was perhaps not unusual as my Mom and Dad were friends with Ted and his wife. In fact, my Dad died helping Ted build his house on Manitoulin Island.

      Ted never really showed any interest in me, and my Mom, who was a survivor of the Indian Residential School system could not tell me the truth. I always knew that I was different; I remember running home from school one day and locking myself in our family bedroom to look in a black box where my Mom kept documents. I was looking for adoption papers!!!

      I’ve always wanted to write a story about how I came to be and reading about Sarah Polley’s film has inspired me. In wanting to write a narrative about my family’s secret, I am hoping to shed some light on my development as an Anishnabe woman of 60, and more importantly, on the secret romance between Ted and my Mom. A work of fiction, I want this story to speak about the struggles of my Mom and Ted, both Aboriginal, who were faced with choices and decisions that would affect both of their lives, and the lives of their respective families.

      I am looking forward to Ms. Polley’s film, and would certainly treasure a conversation with her. Sincerely, LJordan

      — Linda Jordan,