What Walaa Wants

  • Christy Garland
  • Canada, Denmark
  • 2018
  • 89 min
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The Palestinian Latifa Abu Draa spent eight years in an Israeli prison, and by the time she was released in 2011, her daughter Walaa was 15 years old. Like Latifa’s other children, Walaa grew up in the Palestinian refugee camp Balata, an environment in which uncertainty, oppression, grief, anger and stray bullets are part of everyday life. No wonder this tough girl became such a rebellious teenager. The headstrong, funny, heartwarming young woman has an answer for everything and is constantly getting into trouble. But ultimately she only wants one thing: to improve her life and that of others. The escape route she dreams of is to join the Palestinian Civil Police Force.

Filmmaker Christy Garland follows Walaa over the course of five crucial years, in the alleyways of the camp, horsing around with her brother, in conversations with her mother, and through the tough training at the police academy. Garland's camera becomes her companion as Walaa struggles her way into adulthood.


  • 89 min
  • color
  • DCP
Christy Garland
Anne Köhncke for Final Cut for Real, Matt Code for Murmur Media Inc., Christy Garland for Murmur Film, Justine Pimlott for National Film Board of Canada
Executive producer
Signe Byrge Sørensen for Final Cut for Real, Anita Lee for National Film Board of Canada, Waël Kabbani for Iambic Dream, Penny Charter
Christy Garland
Michael Aaglund, Graeme Ring
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