IMDb > Stories We Tell (2012)
Stories We Tell
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Stories We Tell (2012) More at IMDbPro »

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Stories We Tell -- A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers.
Stories We Tell -- Clip: Other Children


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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Sarah Polley (written by)
Michael Polley (narration)
View company contact information for Stories We Tell on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
17 January 2013 (Greece) See more »
A film that excavates layers of myth and memory to find the elusive truth at the core of a family of storytellers. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
21 wins & 21 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A tender and often moving inquiry See more (41 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Michael Polley ... Himself - Storyteller
Harry Gulkin ... Himself - Storyteller
Susy Buchan ... Herself - Storyteller
John Buchan ... Himself - Storyteller
Mark Polley ... Himself - Storyteller
Joanna Polley ... Herself - Storyteller
Cathy Gulkin ... Herself - Storyteller
Marie Murphy ... Herself - Storyteller
Robert MacMillan ... Himself - Storyteller
Anne Tait ... Herself - Storyteller
Deirdre Bowen ... Herself - Storyteller
Victoria Mitchell ... Herself - Storyteller
Mort Ransen ... Himself - Storyteller
Geoffrey Bowes ... Himself - Storyteller (as Geoff Bowes)

Tom Butler ... Himself - Storyteller
Pixie Bigelow ... Herself - Storyteller
Claire Walker ... Herself - Storyteller
Rebecca Jenkins ... Diane Polley

Peter Evans ... Michael Polley
Alex Hatz ... Harry Gulkin
Justin Goodhand ... John Buchan

Seamus Morrison ... Mark Polley

Allie MacDonald ... Joanna Polley
Lani Billard ... Susy Buchan

Andrew Church ... Geoff Bowes

Dave Kiner ... Wayne Robson

Jef Mallory ... Tom Butler
Kristen Corvers ... Deirdre Bowen

Christine Horne ... Anne Tait

Jeanie Calleja ... Victoria Mitchell
James Downing ... Mort Ransen
Tracey Ferencz ... Aunt Sheila
Eric Hanson ... Mark Polley (age 11)
Kaylin Griffin ... Joanna Polley (age 8)
Mairtin O'Carrigan ... Director (1967)

Thomas Hauff ... Actor (The Caretaker)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wayne Curnew ... Garbage Collector (uncredited)
Diane Polley ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Sarah Polley ... Herself (uncredited)
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Directed by
Sarah Polley 
Writing credits
Sarah Polley (written by)

Michael Polley (narration)

Produced by
Silva Basmajian .... executive producer
Sonia Hosko .... producer: Interview with Michael
Anita Lee .... producer
Cinematography by
Iris Ng (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Mike Munn  (as Michael Munn)
Casting by
John Buchan 
Jason Knight 
Production Design by
Lea Carlson 
Set Decoration by
David Gruer 
Costume Design by
Sarah Armstrong 
Makeup Department
Teena Black .... daily makeup artist
Teena Black .... makeup assistant
Lily Champniss .... daily hair stylist
Lily Champniss .... hair assistant
Sarah Craig .... makeup artist (as Sarah Craig-McEathron)
Alastair Muir .... daily makeup artist
Alastair Muir .... makeup assistant
Lucy Orton .... daily hair stylist
Lucy Orton .... hair assistant
Josie Stewart .... hair stylist
Production Management
Janine Heath .... production manager
Lorraine Samuel .... post-production supervisor
Mark Wilson .... production supervisor
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
David Forsyth .... first assistant director
Art Department
Stephen Depko .... set dresser
Deirdra Morris .... buyer
Sasha Tolstoy .... set dresser
Paul Vernon .... property master
Deirdre Hughes .... graphic designer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Shawn Dickey .... mix operator
Barry Gilmore .... dialogue editor
Krystin Hunter .... dialogue editor
Mandy Ley .... audio coordinator
Sanjay Mehta .... sound recordist
Joe Morrow .... sound re-recording mixer
David Rose .... sound recordist: Interview with Michael
David Rose .... supervising sound editor
Lou Solakofski .... sound re-recording mixer
Graham Rogers .... assistant re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Adam Crosby .... electric
Michael Gibson .... still photographer
Bob Gordon Sr. .... additional camera
Sean Harvey .... grip
Christine Kleckner .... additional camera
Walter Klymkiw .... gaffer: Montreal
Christiopher Logan .... grip
Marcus Matyas .... additional camera
Kendall McColl .... daily gaffer
Hugh McJanet .... additional camera
Hugh McJanet .... gaffer
Sanjay Mehta .... additional camera
Alejandro Munoz-Hernandez .... best boy electric
Eva Percewicz .... first assistant camera
Sarah Polley .... additional camera
David Sandomierski .... additional camera
Michael Wilde .... swing
Ken Woroner .... still photographer
Zach Zohr .... key grip
Casting Department
Nancy Botting-Harrison .... background casting: Exact Cast (as Nancy Harrison)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Adrienne Baker .... costume assistant
Nola Chaters .... costume assistant
Editorial Department
Darcy Arthurs .... digital intermediate producer: Technicolor Toronto
Grace Carnale-Davis .... sales executive/representative: Technicolor Toronto
Joscelyn Goode .... film timer: Technicolor Toronto
Rob Gyorgy .... digital intermediate on-line editor: Technicolor Toronto (as Rev. Rob Gyorgy)
Mark Kueper .... digital intermediate colorist: Technicolor Toronto
Justin Lovell .... additional dailies: Frame Discreet
Margaret Mansell .... digital film technician: Technicolor Toronto
Michelle Morris .... project manager: Technicolor New York
Josh Olive .... dailies colorist: Technicolor New York
Andrew Pascoe .... digital film supervisor: Technicolor Toronto
Brian Reid .... digital intermediate technical operations project manager: Technicolor Toronto
Music Department
Jonathan Goldsmith .... music arranger
Elizabeth Klinck .... music clearances
Transportation Department
Paul Brideau .... driver
Chris Rowles .... generator driver
Other crew
Kelley Alexander .... marketing manager
Cynthia Amsden .... unit publicist
Adam Belanger .... production assistant
Graeme Brown .... production assistant
Julian Brown .... title designer: ON THE CHASE! Motion + Design
Ryan Buller .... production assistant
Catherine Crawford .... location scout
Marc Cunningham .... assistant location manager: Montreal
Stephanie Dagg .... craft service
Fernando DaSilva .... assistant location manager (as Fernando Da Silva)
Missy Dingman .... set production assistant: New York
Matt Hunwicks .... set production assistant (as Matthew Hunwicks)
Christine Kleckner .... production coordinator
Elizabeth Klinck .... visual researcher
Roman Martyn .... location manager: Montreal
Marcus Matyas .... technical coordinator
Jennifer Mesich .... set production coordinator
Josiah Rothenberg .... centre administrator
Kate Vollum .... production coordinator
Dawn Weaver .... craft service
Eardley Wilmot .... location manager
Andrew Martin-Smith .... assistant: studio administration (uncredited)
Hussain Amarshi .... thanks
Stephen Andrews .... thanks
Sarah Arruda .... thanks
Michael Ball .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Doug Block .... thanks
Dan Bowman .... thanks
John Buchan .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
John Buchan .... special thanks
Susy Buchan .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Brent Carver .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Yung Chang .... thanks
Jody Colero .... thanks
Paul Cowan .... thanks
Chris Curreri .... thanks
Chris Donaldson .... thanks
Wayne Dunkley .... thanks
Atom Egoyan .... thanks
Polley Family .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Gerry Flahive .... thanks
Lindsay Forslund .... thanks
Arnie Gelbart .... thanks
Phillipe Godeau .... thanks
Bob Gordon Jr. .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Bob Gordon Jr. .... thanks
Bob Gordon Sr. .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Gisele Gordon .... thanks
Allison Grant .... thanks
John Greyson .... thanks
Cathy Gulkin .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Corey Gulkin .... thanks
Harry Gulkin .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Sturla Gunnarsson .... thanks (as Sturla Gunnarson)
Roslyn Kalloo .... thanks
Alan King .... thanks
France Lachapelle .... the producer would like to thank
Helen Lee .... thanks
Jared Leto .... thanks
Anria Loubser .... thanks
Sheena Macdonald .... thanks
Lea Marin .... thanks
Jerry McIntosh .... thanks
Kevin McMahon .... special thanks
Rebecca Mead .... thanks
Peter Mettler .... thanks
Linda Muir .... archival footage and photos courtesy of
Myron Natwick .... thanks
Kenneth Oakley .... the producer would like to thank
Michael Ondaatje .... thanks
Nick de Pencier .... thanks
Ruth Penner .... thanks
Anton Piatagorsky .... thanks
Mary Plasterer .... thanks
Jeffrey Remedios .... thanks
Ava Roth .... thanks
Kerri Sakamoto .... thanks
David Sandomierski .... thanks
Shelley Saywell .... thanks
Dixie Seattle .... thanks
Tim Southam .... thanks
Catherine Spence .... thanks
Jeffrey St. Jules .... thanks
Barry Stevens .... thanks
Amy Stewart .... thanks
Mick Sullivan .... thanks
Michael Tait .... thanks
Jane Tattersall .... thanks
Lorna Teare .... the producer would like to thank
Jaco Van Dormael .... thanks
John Walker .... thanks
Larry Weinstein .... thanks
Wim Wenders .... thanks
David Wharnsby .... thanks
Cindy Witten .... special thanks
Romas Zabas .... thanks
Nicola Zavaglia .... thanks
Alan Zweig .... thanks
Crew believed to be complete

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG-13 for thematic elements involving sexuality, brief strong language and smoking
108 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Himself - Storyteller:When you're in the middle of a story, it isn't a story at all but rather a confusion, a dark roaring, a blindness, a wreckage of shattered glass and splintered wood, like a house in a whirlwind or else a boat crushed by the icebergs or swept over the rapids, and all aboard are powerless to stop it. It's only afterwards that it becomes anything like a story at all, when you're telling it to yourself or someone else.See more »
Movie Connections:
Features Mr. Nobody (2009)See more »
Out Into the StormSee more »


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
A tender and often moving inquiry, 5 December 2013
Author: Howard Schumann from Vancouver, B.C.

Produced in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada, Canadian director Sarah Polley's documentary Stories We Tell is a tender and often moving inquiry into the life of her mother Diana who died in 1990 from cancer when Sarah was only eleven years old. Her investigation, consisting of interviews with her Toronto family members aided by Super-8 home movies (60% of which are recreated using look-alike actors), uncovers family secrets that slowly begin to be revealed during the course of the film. Sarah not only directs the movie but also conducts the interviews with the storytellers that include her father, siblings and half-siblings, and close friends of her mother who all share their memories of Diana and what she meant to them in their lives.

Though Sarah does not share her own feelings or thoughts, she does acknowledge that her bond with Michael and her four siblings grew closer after her mother's death. Polley comes from a family closely associated with the theater. Her mother was an actress as was her father Michael, who narrates the story from his written account of his memories. Family members are asked to "tell the story from the beginning until now," and they relate their recollection of Diana and how she affected their lives, their stories filled with emotion and sometimes tears. As the storytellers go on, it becomes clear that Diana was a free spirit who was a more complex person than at first imagined.

Everyone's memories of Diana and the details of her life are somewhat different but, on the whole, they complement each other, each providing one more piece of the puzzle. One interesting aspect of the story is the long term close relationship Diana had with film producer Harry Gulkin, a former union organizer and left-wing activist, and how the consequences of their affair strongly impacted Sarah's life. Though the film talks about their affair as one that stemmed from Michael's inability to satisfy Diana on many levels, we do not really know Diana's own thoughts and feelings on the subject.

As far as Gulkin is concerned, he does share his point of view but lets it be known that he is uncomfortable in the context of the film and that he feels the story should be his alone to tell. Although it may go on a bit longer than necessary, Stories We Tell is never less than fascinating and is especially noteworthy for its refusal to engage in mawkishness or sentimentality. Though there are differences in interpretation among the storytellers, the fact that Sarah's family remains supportive of each other after all the years is a testament to their resilience and mutual respect.

Stories We Tell underscores the point that it is difficult to separate what actually happened from the story we tell about it, our interpretation of the event. What is not said, however, is that over time, the story may become the only reality we know. When that happens, we no longer have a story, but we become our story, a position that severely limits our ability to grow. Perhaps the film's greatest contribution is to suggest a process that other families can use to look at how their interpretations often get in the way of acknowledging the simple truth of what happened and allow them to see events in their life from a broader perspective.

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Just saw this - one BIG issue kennedyjohnson
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When did 2 eldest sibs come to live with the Polleys? Mitch-4
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