Sarah Polley pulls name from 'The Heart'

Director says Oscar short might market brand of margarine

TORONTO -- Sarah Polley's heart just isn't in it. The Canadian actress-turned-director on Tuesday withdrew her name from "The Heart," a two-minute film she shot on female cardiac health to air this Sunday on Canadian broadcaster CTV's nationwide telecast of the Academy Awards.

Polley said she pulled her credit from the Oscar short after she learned that the project from Canada's Heart and Stroke Foundation might indirectly market the Unilever brand margarine Becel.

"In December 2009, I made a film to be aired during the Academy Awards that I believed was to promote the Heart and Stroke Foundation," Polley said in a statement Tuesday.

Polley said she was initially thrilled to be associated with a film for the medical research charity. But her anti-corporate radar was raised when Polley learned that Becel commissioned the short.

"I have since learned that my film is also being used to promote a product. Regretfully, I am forced to remove my name from the film and disassociate myself from it. I have never actively promoted any corporate brand, and cannot do so now," she said.

A CTV spokesman said the film, which stars Sarah Manninen and Jean-Michel Le Gal, will air during the Oscar telecast Sunday night. "The Heart" was produced by Jennifer Weiss and Simone Urdl of Film Farm Productions, and lensed by DOP Luc Montpellier.

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The short was designed by Becel to avoid product placement and instead mesh with the Heart and Stroke Foundation's ongoing campaign to raise awareness among women of risks from heart disease and stroke, and how they can protect themselves.

Becel commissioned a separate French-language film on female heart health that was directed by actress Pascale Bussieres and that will debut during the Jutra Awards, Quebec's film awards.
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