Helen Mirren described Israel as “a great, great country” this week at the 29th Israeli Film Festival, where she was awarded the Career Achievement Award.

Upon receiving the award at the event on Wednesday in Beverley Hills, she spoke about her “love [for] Israel” and the impact it had had on her career.

“I was thinking about the building blocks that lead you to becoming the person you will become,” Ms Mirren said. “I was thinking that my visit to Israel in those days was a part, not a direct connection, but it’s absolutely a part of the building blocks that have made me the actress I am and doing the kind of work that I do.”

Continuing, she said: “These building blocks make personal lives and also these building blocks make countries.

“I love Israel, I think it is a great, great country. I think through all the difficulties and all the pains that Israel has suffered and will in the future, the great thing that Israel has is Israelis. They will guide you through.”

Aaron Sorkin, the producer and playwright known for The West Wing and The Newsroom, was also honoured at the event, winning the IFF Achievement in Film & Television Award. He said he wanted to see more films made and set in the Middle East.

He said: “My friends who are screenwriters tell me that successfully pitching a movie that takes place in the Middle East is somewhere between very difficult and impossible.

“The reaction from the studio is usually ‘that’s a good story, but who right now wants to see a movie set in that part of the world?’

“I do, I want to see a lot of them.”

Source: Jewish Chronicle