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The Boy Who Wanted to Be a Book

A filmmaker sets out to fulfill the promise she made to her close friend before he died.

This is the story of Amos Oz and his literature.

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© Colin McPherson

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Be part of the journey...

Donations are being collected via a 501C3 foundation named Stairway to STEM Inc. All donations are tax deductible for US taxpayers.

"A personal tribute to Amos Oz, a great writer and humanist."

THE BOY WHO WANTED TO BE A BOOK fulfills my promise to Amos and is a personal tribute. Making this film is my journey in search of a deeper understanding and appreciation of his incredibly rich and important literature.


- Katya Chelli, filmmaker

Hear from Nily Oz...

Nily Zuckerman was born in Kibbutz Hulda on December 25th, 1939, a few months after Amos’s birth in Jerusalem. Destiny eventually brought them together and they were married in Hulda on April 5th, 1960. They spent some 60 years together and raised three children.


When talking about the absolute necessity for compromise in order for there to be peace in the Middle East, Amos, with his inimitable sense of humour, could often be heard to add: “Believe me, I know what I’m talking about after having been married to the same woman for so many years!!!”


Nily’s great passion has always been music. She plays the recorder and prides herself in knowing thousands of old Hebrew folksongs by heart. When talking to me on the phone, Amos would often refer to her as his “songbird.” Nily was always the very first person to read what Amos wrote.


In 2022, Nily published a beautifully touching book about her life with Amos entitled “My Amos.”

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Who is Amos Oz?

Amos Oz is known as one of the greatest Israeli writers of all time. His literary oeuvre comprises some fifteen novels, several collections of short stories, books for children and numerous essays. His books have been translated into more than 40 languages and he has been awarded many prestigious literary prizes.
One of his books stands out as an autobiographical novel: A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS recounts his own family’s history, his childhood, the creation of the State of Israel and the death of his mother - a tragedy which haunted him all his life.

Who is Katya Chelli?

Katya Chelli began her career in film in Boston, where she worked as an assistant editor on both fiction and documentary films. Since moving to France in 1985, she has worked on feature films directed by, among others, Robert Altman, Costa-Gavras, Axel Corti and Nikita Mikhalkov as well as on numerous documentary films.
Katya made her début as a documentary director in 2019 with her film HEALING HEARTS, which tells the story of Israeli and Palestinian doctors working together to save the lives of Palestinian children born with severe heart malformations.

Watch our webinar event

On June 8, 2023, an international community came together to celebrate Amos Oz’s legacy and literature with a panel of distinguished university professors as they reflected and shared their insights on his work.

This inspiring event also featured others who shared an incredible appreciation of this great writer's work, including Costa-Gavras, Ruby Namdar, Valérie Zenatti.

Hugh Bonneville delivered a beautiful reading from A TALE OF LOVE AND DARKNESS, Amos Oz's autobiographical novel.

If you wish to join our mailing list to receive updates about the film project, register here...

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© Amir Hadad

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