‹ Back to Past Screenings & Events

YFS Past Screenings & Events

Stories We Tell

This screening took place on
Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 6:15pm
Yukon Arts Centre

Sarah Polley’s voyage into the world of documentary is a personal essay on the intractable subjects of truth and memory. Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers. She playfully interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions. As each relates their version of the family mythology, present-day recollections shift into nostalgia-tinged glimpses of their mother, who departed too soon, leaving a trail of unanswered questions. Polley unravels the paradoxes to reveal the essence of family: always complicated, warmly messy and fiercely loving. Using a combination of archival footage, still photos and testimonials in a captivating visual assemblage, Polley examines the disagreements and varying narratives of a single family as they look back on decades-old events that impacted Polley’s own understanding of the circumstances of her birth. One of Canada’s Top Ten films as chosen by a panel assembled by TIFF.


“I’m happily going out on a limb to predict Sarah Polley’s astonishing new film will not only land an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Feature, but also one for Best Picture. Yes, it’s that good. I write this fully knowing that no doc has ever been nominated for the Academy’s top prize, but then Stories We Tell makes ’documentary’ seem the most limiting of labels. Polley’s brave quest to uncover her family’s deepest secrets unfolds like a thriller, one where the resolution is literally part of her DNA. It’s an intimate film of truth, memory and reconciliation, not just for Polley and her family but also for astonished viewers. Polley isn’t just a Canadian talent, she’s a Canadian treasure.” – Peter Howell, Toronto Star

  • Directed by Sarah Polley
  • 2012, Ontario
  • 108 minutes

    YFS Annual Supporters

    Supporters