What Walaa Wants

Premier Iberoamericana


Canada - Denmark / 2018 / Arabic with Spanish and English subtitles / 89 min

  • Director 

    Christy Garland

  • Producer: 

    Anne Köhncke, Matt Code, Christy Garland, Justine Pimlott

  • Screenplay: 

    Christy Garland

  • Photography: 

    Christy Garland

  • Cast: 

    Walaa Khaled Fawzy Tanji, Latifa Abu Draa



Baleta, a refugee camp for Palestinians in Nablus. The largest on the West Bank with a population of 20,000. It is here that Walaa and her siblings are reunited with their mother, who has spent eight years in jail. A stubborn, outgoing teenager, Walaa dreams of working for the Palestinian Authority when she finishes school. We follow her day-to-day routine over the course of several years, watch her train at the police academy and begin her working life, as she bears unusual witness to life inside the refugee camp, to the hopes and dreams of a generation of young people who have known no other life except this, a violent one walled in and surviving in a semi-permanent state of war. But it is precisely Walaa’s zest for life that save this exceptional documentary from the potential pitfalls of gloom and fatalism. This is life; this is teenage angst, the power of ideals and the desire to change the world intrinsic to an age when anything is possible, no matter what the circumstances.


Nathalie Bourdon distribution@nfb.ca


Christy Garland

Christy Garland

She has directed award-winning and critically acclaimed documentary features and fiction shorts. Distributed worldwide, Garland’s films deliver strong dramatic development, poignant character transformation, and universally felt themes. The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song (2012), Cheer Up (2016).