Yonatan Nir is an award-winning documentary film producer and director.
His debut film, “Dolphin Boy”, premiered at HotDocs and received, among other awards, the Jury Mention Award at the Jerusalem Film Festival and Woodstock Film Festival, as well as First Prize at the World Festival for Underwater Images. It was nominated for the Israeli Academy Awards; the International Green Film Awards (Cinema For Peace); the Mind Media Awards and was acquired by Disney Pictures.
His film “My Hero Brother” was the first and only documentary to win both Best Documentary Award and Audience Choice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In 2017 Nir won the International Director of the Year Award at the DocEdge Film Festival.
During the past decade, his projects have been screened by significant broadcasters such as ARTE, France Televisions, NDR/ARD, NHK, DR, AVROTROS, Channel 4, and many more.
His Latest film “Picture of His Life”, featuring a wildlife photographer on his quest to swim with Polar Bears was exec produced by Nancy Spielberg and Andy Byatt. It was the opening night film of DocAviv Film Festival and the Winner of the Audience Award at the San Francisco JFF.
In addition to his work as a filmmaker, Nir has built his reputation as an experienced and sought-after speaker, and until today has given hundreds of lectures in front of diverse audiences around the world.
In his inspiring lectures, which are based on his films, he speaks about documentary filmmaking as a catalyst for social change and personal growth, and shares behind-the-scenes stories from complex productions in extreme shooting locations which require coping with uncertainty, frustration and fear, but also require teamwork, patience and hope.
Over the years, Nir has spoken in front of over 150,000 high school and university students, at conferences in front of judges, physicians, psychologists and social workers, at large organizations, high-tech companies and special events around the world, among them at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, the Holocaust Museum in Montreal, and the UN Headquarters in Vienna.
An injury Nir suffered during the Second Lebanon War led him to become involved in films in which the protagonist has undergone severe trauma.
In an effort to find answers to the challenges he was met with during his work with these protagonists, Nir began working together with psychologist Yoram Ben Yehuda, who wrote a therapeutic protocol on the topic of "documentary filmmaking as part of a therapeutic process".
As part of their cooperation, Nir and Ben Yehuda implemented this protocol in a few docutherapy projects.