Yonatan Nir

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Yonatan Nir
Yonatan Nir Image.jpg
Born (1977-04-22) 22 April 1977 (age 41)
Kibbutz HaZore'a, Israel
Occupation Film producer, film director
Years active 2004–present

Yonatan Nir (born April 22, 1977) is an award-winning Israeli documentary film director and producer and a former photojournalist.


Yonatan Nir grew up in Kibbutz HaZore'a, in Northern Israel. He served in an elite commando unit, and was injured during the 2006 Lebanon War, in which he participated as a reserve soldier. This experience led him to take an interest in post-trauma and rehabilitation; recurring themes in his films.[1][2][3]

Nir began his professional career as an underwater photographer and photojournalist, working for a number of media outlets including Haaretz, Yedioth Ahronoth and Asian Geographic. Nir is a graduate of the Camera Obscura School of Art in Tel Aviv, where he specialized in film and television.[4][5][6]

Nir co-produced and co-directed his debut film Dolphin Boy (2011), together with Dani Menkin. The film’s remake rights were acquired by Disney Pictures in 2012.[7]

Nir’s films have won several awards, including Best Documentary Film Award and Audience Choice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Honorary Mention Award at the Woodstock Film Festival, and Best International Director Award at the Documentary Edge Festival in New Zealand.[8][9][10]

Nir is a prolific speaker, and has given over 500 lectures around the world. Nir resides in Kibbutz Ramot Menashe with his wife and three daughters.[11]


Dolphin Boy (72 min, 2011) - tells the story of Morad, a boy who undergoes 3 years of dolphin therapy in Eilat, after being brutally attacked and suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder.[12][13][14]

My Hero Brother (77 min, 2016) - tells the story of a group of young people with Down syndrome that set on a journey to the summit of the Himalayas with their siblings.[15][16]

The Essential Link: The Story of Wilfrid Israel (71 min, 2017) - tells the story of Wilfrid Israel, a wealthy Jewish businessman and owner of Berlin’s largest department store in the 1930s, who was involved in the saving of 20,000 Jews during World War II.[19][20]

Additional films include AMOS - The Impossible Shot (post-production), Beyond the Boundaries and Cutting the Pain.


  1. ^ Red Sea Reboot. Haaretz, Nirit Anderman, July 15, 2011
  2. ^ Interview: Yonatan Nir, director of My Hero Brother. Shalom.Kiwi, Shoshana Maasland, June 4, 2017
  3. ^ The incredible life of a combat soldier who decided to amputate his foot (Hebrew). Mako, Yariv Peleg, August 7, 2014
  4. ^ My Hero Brother: Interview with Yonatan Nir. The Jewish Week, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer, August 12, 2017
  5. ^ An Interview With Yonatan Nir. Lens Magazine, Issue 12
  6. ^ Yonatan Nir, co-director and co-producer of Dolphin Boy. Euromed Audiovisual, February 20, 2012
  7. ^ ‘Dolphin Boy’ gets picked up by Disney. The Times of Israel, Jessica Steinberg, November 26, 2013
  8. ^ Santa Barbara Film Festival Announces 2017 Award Winners. Variety, Sarah Ahern, February 11, 2017
  9. ^ Santa Barbara Film Festival Winds Up Starry Session with Indie Prizes. IndieWire, Anne Thompson, February 11, 2017
  10. ^ Documentary Winners Announced at Doc Edge Festival. Scoop Independent News, May 25, 2017
  11. ^ Yonatan Nir's biography on Hey Jude Productions
  12. ^ A Beaten Teenager Seeks Solace in Another Species. New York Times, Jeannette Catsoulis, April 26, 2012
  13. ^ Dolphin ‘Psychotherapists’ Treat Severe Trauma. The Jerusalem Post, Judy Siegel-Itzkovich, July 8, 2012
  14. ^ Dolphin Boy. The Village Voice, Andrew Schenker, April 25, 2012
  15. ^ How India helped to rewrite relationships between the disabled and their families. Economic Times, Faizal Khan, October 16, 2016
  16. ^ Meet the Makers. Independent, Matt Kettmann, January 26, 2017
  17. ^ Inspirational Israeli film screening in South Florida. Sun Sentinel, Sergio Carmona, January 13, 2017
  18. ^ “MY HERO BROTHER” – A TRIBUTE TO THE HUMAN SPIRIT. Santa Monica Mirror, Beverly Cohn, February 21, 2017
  19. ^ Toronto Jewish Film Festival. The Times of Israel, Sheldon Kirshner, April 18, 2017
  20. ^ Wilfrid Israel, an unsung Holocaust hero, gets his due. The Times of Israel, Jessica Steinberg, January 14, 2018.

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