All families have dramas, but when filmmaker Sarah Polley unearthed a shattering secret that would turn her life upside down, she decided to make a movie about it. Her documentary , or rather, her family’s documentary Stories We Tell which just premiered at the Venice Film Festival was shrouded in mystery, and press were warned the director wouldn’t be doing interviews, but in a bold unprecedented move, Sarah detailed her difficult journey in a blog on the NFB’s website.
Before her film Away From Her recieved Oscar nominations in 2008, Sarah made the shocking discovery that her dad wasn’t her biological father. Her mother who had passed away when she was 11-years-old, had an affair and Sarah only found out about it when, by chance, she met the man who was her mother’s lover. She had heard family jokes on the matter, but DNA testing confirmed the truth. Sarah held onto the secret, before another twist of fate propelled her to tell the man who raised her.
Sarah writes, ”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.” The journalist agreed and Sarah decided to not only open up to her father, but to tell the story the only way she knew how – through film.
Also astounding, was her dad’s response to the staggering news, “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.”
You can read more of Sarah Polly’s eloquent admission here, and watch the full trailer of “Stories We Tell” below.