Helen Mirren: I love Israel, it's a great country
Award-winning British actress honored at 29th Israel Film Festival (IFF) in Los Angeles alongside American screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. 'The great thing that Israel has is Israelis, and they will guide it through,' Mirren says upon accepting Career Achievement Award.
Mirren, 70, received the Career Achievement Award at the IFF, which opened Wednesday. She used the occasion to recount her memories from Israel, first after the Six-Day War when she lived in Kibbutz Ha'on with her Jewish boyfriend at the time and toured the country from the north to Eilat, and later on a couple of additional visits.
"Likewise, I was thinking about the building blocks that make Israel the great country that it is. And the courage and the commitment of those early people working on the kibbutz that I was lucky enough in those days to meet and work alongside briefly.
"I love Israel. I think it's a great, great country. I think that through all the difficulties and all the pain that Israel has suffered in the past and will in the future, the great thing that Israel has is Israelis, and they will guide it through."
Helen Mirren is probably best known for her performance as Queen Elizabeth in "The Queen," for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007, and for her performance as police detective Jane Tennison on the acclaimed ITV series "Prime Suspect," for which she won several Emmy Awards. In the 2010 film "The Debt," she played the role of a retired Israeli Mossad agent.
The IFF award was presented to Mirren by actress Diane Lane, her co-star in "Trumbo," which may bring her another Oscar nomination.
Sorkin, 54, received the IFF Film and Television Achievement Award. He is considered one of the most accomplished screenwriters in Hollywood today. His works includes television series "The West Wing" and "The Newsroom," as well as the films "A Few Good Men" (1992), "The Social Network" (2010), for which he won an Oscar, and "Moneyball" (2011). He also wrote the screenplay for "Steve Jobs," which is considered a leading candidate for winning at the upcoming Academy Awards.
"It couldn't be more important to support Israel," Sorkin said after receiving the award.
The festival also honored Dr. Sharon Nazarian, founder of the UCLA Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies and president of the Nazarian Family Foundation, with the 2015 IFF Humanitarian Award.
The program of the IFF, which will run till November 19, includes as many as 29 Israeli films, led by Israel's entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 88th Academy Awards, "Baba Joon."
"Some 1,200 people came to pay their respects for the State of Israel and Israeli cinema," IFF founder Meir Fenigstein concluded. "On such difficult days, I am glad we succeeded in recruiting three of the leading names in the race to the Oscar season, who arrived to pay their respects to Israeli cinema, which serves as a honorary ambassador of Israel in the US and in the entire world."