Fast Facts

  • Made her big-screen debut with a bit part in the 1985 Disney movie One Magic Christmas.
  • Began living on her own when she was 15; dropped out of high school during her senior year to devote more time to political activism.
  • Went to high school with actor Scott Speedman, who played her husband in the 2003 drama My Life Without Me.
  • After directing several acclaimed short films and studying at Toronto's Canadian Film Centre, helmed her first full-length movie, the award-winning Away From Her, in 2006.
  • The political activist has been involved in such causes as public health, human rights, global trade and efforts to combat poverty.
  • Battles government attempts to cut funding for artists in Canada.


  • 2007, Genie Awards — Best Achievement in Direction: Winner
  • 1997, Genie Awards — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 2013, Canadian Screen Awards — Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary Award: Winner
  • 2007, Oscar — Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Nominee
  • 2000, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Supporting Female: Nominee
  • 2007, Genie Awards — Best Adapted Screenplay: Winner
  • 2007, Genie Awards — Claude Jutra Award for Direction of a First Feature Film: Winner
  • 2014, Writers Guild Awards — Documentary Screenplay: Winner
  • 2001, Genie Awards — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Nominee
  • 1997, Genie Awards — Best Achievement in Music - Original Song: Nominee
  • 2002, Genie Awards — Best Live Action Short Drama: Winner
  • 2013, Directors Guild of America Awards — Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary: Nominee
  • 2003, Genie Awards — Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Winner


  • John Buchan — Half Brother
  • Mark Polley — Brother
  • Susan Buchan — Half Sister
  • David Sandomierski — Husband
  • Michael Polley — Father
  • Diane Polley — Mother
  • David Wharnsby — Ex-husband
  • Joanna Polley — Sister


  • Birth Place: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Profession: Actor, Director, Screenwriter

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