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She will turn 33 in a few weeks (and a happy birthday to her!), but Sarah Polley has accomplished more already than many people can as a group –she has the awards, and lost two teeth, to prove it. Many audiences know her work as an actress; many know she has directed; some know she has written films (writers are often unsung); some might know she can sing too.
And soon, she will be a mother. She has another of her babies, her directed film, ‘Take This Waltz,’ touring international film festivals this year. The Canadian star has been nominated for over two dozen awards, and has won nearly half of them. One of these nominations was for her performance in the 1988 TV series, ‘Ramona,’ when she was eight, four years after she had begun her film career.
Last year, Ms. Polley received a star on ‘Canada’s Walk of Fame,’ which celebrates successful Canadians. Some of her time has been spent as a political activist, fighting for Canada’s leftist party and campaigning for such causes as health-care, the homeless and the arts. In 1995, two of her teeth were knocked out in a skirmish with riot police.
In 1991, Ms. Polley, only twelve, wore a peace sign to protest the first Gulf War; Disney executives were denied their request to remove it and, despite her success in the highly popular ‘Road to Avonlea,’ blacklisted her.
The list of directors with whom she has worked reveals the artistically subversive company she keeps: Terry Gilliam, Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, Kathryn Bigelow, Zack Snyder, and Wim Wenders, to name a few. The range of styles is equally impressive: (voice-acting) the Canadian children’s-classic, ‘Babar: the Movie’ (1989); the haunting ‘Exotica’ (1994); the tragic ‘The Sweet Hereafter’ (1997); the horror ‘Dawn of the Dead’ (2004); the comedy ‘Slings & Arrows’ (2006); and the sci-fi thriller ‘Splice’ (2009).
She can sing, too. In ‘The Sweet Hereafter’ she sings three songs, one of which she co-wrote and is featured as the title track. Ms. Polley has also written a number of short films, and wrote and directed ‘Away from Her’(2006), starring Julie Christie and compatriot Gordon Pinsent.
The film received an Academy Award nomination in 2008, and was awarded the Canadian equivalent, The Genie Award, for Best Achievement in Direction –she was the first woman to win this. Her latest film, ‘Take This Waltz,’ stars Michelle Williams, Sarah Silverman and another Canadian, Seth Rogen. It has already received a nomination for a festival Best-Picture award. Ms. Polley will be very busy indeed.