Five days before her short film promoting better heart health was set to air during the Oscars, Toronto director/actor Sarah Polley has pulled her name off the two-minute feature.
In a tersely worded press release issued Tuesday, Polley said she removed her name from the credits of the film - titled simply The Heart, and made to support The Heart and Stroke Foundation - after she learned her work will also promote "a product" when it airs during the award's show ceremony, seen by hundreds of millions around the world.
The film was commissioned by Becel (the "love your heart" margarine brand from Unilever) to inspire women to take better care of that particular vital organ.
The margarine also sponsors the Heart and Stroke Foundation's healthy living campaign. A spokesperson for Unilever was not immediately available for comment.
On Tuesday, Polley said in the press release she's "never actively promoted any corporate brand, and cannot do so now." The Academy Awards air March 7 on CTV.
"I was thrilled, as I was proud to be associated with the work of this incredible organization [The Heart & Stroke Foundation]" said Polley, who was nominated for an Oscar for her adapted screenplay for Away From Her, a film she also directed.
"However, 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."
Polley was joined in making the film by the same production team who worked on Away from Her, including Toronto's Jennifer Weiss (Chloe) and Simone Urdl (Sabah).
The short film stars Sarah Manninen ( The Line) and Jean-Michel Le Gal ( Shanti Baba Ram and The Dancers of Hope). It follows a woman through phases of her life and explores the chambers of her heart. The film is meant to shed light on Heart Month (February) in North America.