Yahav Winner, 36, an actor and filmmaker, was killed protecting his wife and newborn baby after terrorists stormed into their home in Kibbutz Kfar Aza on October 7, 2023.
“He not only blocked the window of our bedroom but also tried to lock the door of the house with Shaya’s stroller to stall the terrorists. He didn’t run away. He kept trying to save us. That was my husband,” his wife, fellow filmmaker Shaylee Atary told the Deadline site.
Atary and their month-old baby, Shaya, were rescued after hiding out for more than 24 hours. For three days, Atary waited for news of the fate of her husband, before she found out while filming a TV interview that he had been killed.
“The Boy,” a short film created and directed by Winner, which tells the story of a father and son dealing with rocket fire while living in Kfar Aza, won best cinematography at this year’s Tel Aviv International Students Film Festival.
“He’s a great filmmaker. And he’s a great friend. He was my best friend,” Atary told PBS. “We were 10 and a half years together. And we waited a long time for this child that we now have, Shaya.”
In a since-deleted interview on the T-Port film blog, Winner said that he was working on a new film inspired by life in Kfar Aza, where he had recently moved back after years living in Tel Aviv.
The film, he said, was set to explore “the trauma of the residents of Israel, and also the constant conflict that exists in you when you look over the fence at what is happening in Gaza.”
“The bloody conflict is traumatic because it has no solution, but within all of this there is comfort within the personal connections,” said Winner.