Menu Close
Associate Professor of Journalism, Penn State

Boaz Dvir teaches journalism, directs and produces documentaries, and directs the Hammel Family Human Rights Initiative and the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative at Penn State.

An award-winning filmmaker, Dvir tells the stories of ordinary people who, under extraordinary circumstances, transform into trailblazers who change the world around them. They include an average inner-city schoolteacher who emerges as a disruptive innovator and a national model ("Discovering Gloria"); a World War II flight engineer who transforms into the leader of a secret operation to prevent a second Holocaust ("A Wing and a Prayer"); an uneducated truck driver who becomes a highly effective child-protection activist ("Jessie’s Dad"); and a French business consultant who sets out to kill former Nazi officer Klaus Barbie and ends up playing a pivotal role in history’s most daring hostage-rescue operation ("Cojot").

Dvir’s 2020 nonfiction book, “Saving Israel,” (Rowman & Littlefield) follows the turbulent journey of World War II aviators who risked their lives and freedom in 1947-49 to prevent what they viewed as an imminent second Holocaust. The Washington Times book reviewer Joshua Sinai described this nonfiction book as a “fascinating and dramatic account filled with lots of new information about a crucially formative period.”

Dvir, a Penn State University assistant professor, teamed up with Retro Report to produce a documentary short, “How Special Ops Became Central to the War On Terror,” for The New York Times. His most recent release, the child-poverty short, El País de la Eterna Primavera (Land of the Eternal Spring), has been an official selection at nearly 20 films festivals, including International Film Festival Manhattan, India’s NEZ Film Festival, and the Oregon Documentary Film Festival.

His films have been distributed by PBS, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play and other outlets. Lifetime and Investigation Discovery have incorporated footage from his documentaries into their programs. They have screened in prestigious venues around the world, including Columbia University’s Global Center in Paris, the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and numerous US colleges such as the University of Virginia, Syracuse, Penn and NYU.

Dvir’s documentaries have received coverage by such media as the Huffington Post,
The Guardian, Haaretz, MSNBC, the New York Post, The Miami Herald, Stars and Stripes, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Florida magazine. His films have won several prestigious awards. For instance, "A Wing and a Prayer" was named Best Documentary at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

Dvir wrote a chapter for “Homegrown in Florida” (University Press of Florida, 2012), an anthology edited by William McKeen that includes childhood stories by Michael Connelly, Carl Hiaasen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Tom Petty.

Dvir, who also taught writing and documentary filmmaking, at the University of Florida, has written for many publications, including Newsday, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Tampa Bay Times, The Miami Herald, the Jerusalem Post, Scripps Howard’s Treasure Coast Newspapers, the Times of Israel, and Explore magazine.

Dvir served as editor of the Jacksonville Business Journal and managing editor of the South Florida Business Journal, which are part of Newhouse’s American City Business Journals. For several years, he appeared on “Week in Review” and wrote commentaries for WJCT, Jacksonville’s NPR/PBS station.

Dvir received a Lilly Endowment grant from the Religion News Service to research spiritual aspects of the Holocaust. He served as an officer and a military journalist in the Israel Defense Forces, where he gathered vital information during 1991 Gulf War, providing material to foreign correspondents, James Baker’s office and Benjamin Netanyahu.


  • 2016–2020
    Assistant professor, Penn State


  • 2020
    Saving Israel, Rowman & Littlefield


Best Director, Green section, 2019 NEZ International Film Festival; Most Inspirational Film, 2019 Twin Falls Sandwiches Film Festival; Best Documentary, 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival; Best Documentary, 2011 ITN Film & New Media Festival in Los Angeles,