Ajyal Film Festival 2024

All Films

What Walaa Wants

Ajyal Competition

Christy Garland / Feature Documentary / Canada, Denmark / 2018 / 89 min / Colour / DCP
In Arabic / English subtitles
Interests: Documentary
MENA Premiere


'What Walaa Wants' is the compelling story of a headstrong young girl. Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank while her mother was in prison, Walaa dreams of becoming a policewoman in the Palestinian Security Forces (PSF).

Beginning soon after her mother returns home, the film follows Walaa as she sets out to achieve her independence. Not content with the simple life that was expected of her, she dreams of one day wearing a uniform and earning a salary. No small challenge considering Walaa has her own way of doing things. Despite much discouragement from her family, even from her beloved brother Mohammed, Walaa applies to the Palestinian Authority and is accepted into their gruelling boot camp.

A classic coming-of-age story, the documentary follows Walaa from age 15 to 21 in an insightful look at a rebellious, but resolute young woman as she fights tenaciously to achieve her dream and find her place in the world.

About the Directors

Christy Garland 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. Her first feature-length documentary, 'The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song' (2012), garnered rave reviews during its theatrical release, with The Globe and Mail describing it as “echoing the work of Bresson and the Dardennes”. She is known for making immersive female-focused documentaries, such as 'Cheer Up' (2016).


Christy Garland
Anne Köhncke, Matt Code, Christy Garland, Justine Pimlott
Michael Aaglund, Graeme Ring
Executive Producer
Signe Byrge Sørensen, Anita Lee, Waël Kabbani, Penny Charter
Tom Third
Christy Garland
Sales Company
Autlook Filmsales
Production Company
Murmur Media, Final Cut for Real, National Film Board
Walaa Khaled Fawzy Tanji, Latifa Abu Draa

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