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Sarah Polley (1979)

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  Summary  

Sarah Polley is a Canadian actress, singer, film director, and screenwriter. Polley first attained notice in her role as Sara Stanley in the Canadian television series, Road to Avonlea. She has also starred in such films as Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter, Guinevere, Go, The Weight of Water, My Life Without Me, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Dawn of the Dead, Splice, and Mr. Nobody.

Polley made her feature film directorial debut with 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. Polley's second film, Take This Waltz, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011.

  Biography  

 early life
Polley, the youngest of five children, was born in Toronto, Ontario. She is the daughter of Diane Elizabeth (née MacMillan), an actress and casting director, and Michael Polley, a British-born actor and insurance agent . Polley's mother died of cancer just after Polley's 11th birthday. Polley attended Subway Academy II, then Earl Haig Secondary School, but dropped out before graduating.

 career
 Early career and fall-out with Disney
Her first cinematic appearance was at the age of four, as Molly in the Disney film One Magic Christmas. At age eight, she was cast as Ramona Quimby in the television series Ramona, based on Beverly Cleary's books. That same year, she also played one of the lead characters in Terry Gilliam's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Polley burst into the public eye the following year as Sara Stanley on the popular CBC television series Road to Avonlea. The series made her famous and financially independent, and she was hailed as "Canada's Sweetheart" by the popular press.

The show was picked up by the Disney Channel for distribution in the United States. At the age of 12 , Polley attended an awards ceremony while wearing a peace sign to protest the first Gulf War. Disney executives asked her to remove it, and she refused. This soured her relationship with Disney, and she left Road to Avonlea in 1994. The show itself was cancelled in 1996, although she did return as Sara Stanley for an episode in 1995 and for the final episode in 1996.


 Acting career as adult
Polley appeared as Lily on the CBC television series, Straight Up. It ran from 1996–1998 and she won the Gemini Award for Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program or Series for her role. Polley's subsequent role as Nicole Burnell in the 1997 film The Sweet Hereafter, brought her considerable attention in the United States; she was a fan favourite at the Sundance Film Festival. Her character in the film was an aspiring singer — on the soundtrack, she performed a cover of The Tragically Hip's "Courage" and Jane Siberry's "One More Colour", as well as the film's title track which she co-wrote with Mychael Danna. "Courage" was also played in the ending of an episode of Charmed, "Long Live the Queen" . Polley appeared to two critically acclaimed small movies; 1998's Last Night, and the well-received 1999 film Go with budding actress Katie Holmes, to end out the 1990s.

She was cast in the role of Penny Lane in the big-budget 2000 film Almost Famous, but dropped out of the project to return to Canada for the low-budget The Law of Enclosures. Her role in the 2003 film My Life Without Me, garnered the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in 2004. In the same year, she starred in a lead role in the stylish and successful remake of Dawn of the Dead, which was a departure from her other indie roles. In 2005 she starred in The Secret Life of Words, opposite Tim Robbins and Julie Christie. She was nominated as Best European Actress by the European Film Academy for her role as Hanna.

Polley played Elise in Jaco Van Dormael's Mr. Nobody, which was released in 2010. The film was mostly funded through European financiers, and was given limited release in certain countries. Critical response has praised the film's artistry and Polley's acting.

 Directing career
She made her feature-length film directing debut with Away from Her, based on the Alice Munro short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain. The movie, starring Julie Christie, debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2006 as part of the TIFF's Gala showcase. Away from Her was acquired by Lionsgate for release in the US for the sum of $750,000. It drew rave reviews from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and the three Toronto dailies, both for the performances of Christie and her co-star, Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent, and for Polley's direction. It also earned Polley a 2008 Academy Award nomination for her adapted screenplay and won the Genie Award for Best Achievement in Direction . At the 2008 Genies, she was also awarded the Claude Jutra Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by a first-time feature film director.

Polley takes pride in her work and enjoys both acting and directing but is not keen on combining the two. "I like the feeling of keeping them separate. I find that really gratifying. I can't imagine combining those. For me, I love the feeling of using different parts of my brain separately."

 personal life
Polley is an atheist. On September 10, 2003 she married Canadian film editor David Wharnsby, her companion of seven years. In 2008 they divorced.

On August 23, 2011 she married Canadian law clerk David Sandomierski. Sandomierski is working on his PhD in law at the University of Toronto. Polley is pregnant with her first child, and due at the end of February 2012.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Sarah Polley", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.