The matter with The Heart is product endorsement

Sarah Polley removes name from short film

Melissa Leong, National Post  Published: Wednesday, March 03, 2010

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Sarah Polley has pulled her name from a short film slated to debut during the Academy Awards this Sunday, because she says it is "being used to promote a product."

The award-winning actress and filmmaker wrote and directed The Heart to raise awareness about heart disease and stroke.

"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.

"When I agreed to make this film [ The Heart], I was thrilled, as I was proud to be associated with the work of this incredible organization. However, I have since learned that my film is also being used to promote a product."

Becel, the sponsor of the Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth, commissioned the film, which is still scheduled to air during a commercial break during CTV's Oscar broadcast. A number of corporate sponsors, including Pfizer and Ocean Spray, provide funding to the foundation.

"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," Polley said.

Polley was not available for further comment.

Becel and CTV released a joint statement: "In its role as a proud founding sponsor of the Heart and Stroke Foundation's The Heart Truth Campaign, Becel has commissioned a powerful, two-minute short film to put heart health on the radar of Canadian women. ... We believe strongly in our project's mandate to promote the importance of heart health and raise awareness of the prevalence of heart disease and stroke, the leading cause of death for women in Canada."

According to the press release, the Heart and Stroke Foundation reviewed all content and promotional materials, but did not initiate or commission the film. It was produced by CTV and Bravo!FACT.

The film features Sarah Manninen ( The Line, Naked Josh) as a woman going through different life stages and different stages of cardiac health.

mleong@nationalpost.com

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