Walt Disney Animation Studios purchased the rights to “Dolphin Boy,” an Israeli documentary film about a traumatized Arab Israeli teenager who was healed by Eilat’s dolphins. The film, which is the studio’s first Israeli buy, will be turned into a feature-length film.

The award-winning “Dolphin Boy” follows 16-year-old Morad, a boy who went mute after being attacked by his peers. Doctors had given up on the boy, suggesting he be sent to a mental institution.

Refusing to give up on his son, Morad’s father sold his farm in the Arab town of Qalansawe in central Israel and traveled with Morad to Eilat to explore the possibility of dolphin therapy. Morad ended up staying at the Dolphin Reef for four years, learning first how to bond with the dolphins, and then slowly regaining his ability to communicate with people.

Negotiations for the Disney acquisition lasted around a year, but contracts were finally signed this week, according to Hadas Schapira, the public relations representative for the film. The adapted screenplay will be written by Justin Zackham in collaboration with the original Israeli producers Dani Menkin, Yonatan Nir and Judith Manassen Ramon.

Nir and Menkin, who also wrote and directed the documentary, said they were “pleased and excited to be part of the great success of Israeli film and television in the international area.”

Read Jspace’s interview with Menkin here, and watch a trailer for the Israeli documentary below.