Thursday, October 11, 2007


Garry Maddox Film WriterOctober 11, 2007
Veronica Sywak choked back tears after being nominated for a best actress award among the international stars Brenda Blethyn and Joan Chen yesterday.
The recognition came after a tough period in which the little-known star of the low-budget drama The Jammed stayed on friends' couches between jobs.
"My brain has short-circuited," said Sywak after the announcement. "I was sleeping in my car, like, 2½ - three months ago."
After a series of mostly guest roles on television, the 25-year-old shines in the director Dee McLachlan's tough film about the sex slave trade. But even after finishing a difficult shoot in Melbourne, Sywak had to learn some lessons about survival in Sydney.
"The trick, if you sleep in your car, is to stay up all night and go to internet cafes," she said. "If you sleep in your car at night, you fear that someone is going to break in. Then, during the day, you go somewhere like Centennial Park and just hang out and doze in the sun."
Sywak is up against Blethyn, who plays a comic in Clubland, and Chen, who was a Chinese nightclub singer in The Home Song Stories, at the Inside Film Awards next month.
The self-styled people's choice prizes - rival to the Australian Film Institute Awards - has given The Home Song Stories nine nominations, ahead of The Jammed with six and the comic refugee tale Lucky Miles and the moody thriller Noise with five.
Surprisingly overlooked were the Oscar-winning animation Happy Feet and the immigrant drama Romulus, My Father.
The Jammed was headed for a brief cinema run before a DVD release, until it attracted rave reviews. It has now run for nine weeks and taken $330,000.
"We had so many doors kicked in our faces," Sywak said.

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