What Walaa Wants main content.

What Walaa Wants

A young woman stands with a group of men in formation for a training exercise

Christy Garland
2018 | 90 mins
Country of Production: Canada, Denmark
Country Featured: Palestine
US Premiere | Director in Attendance

For eight years, young Walaa was raised by her siblings in the Balata Refugee Camp while her mother was in an Israeli prison. With her mother’s release, Walaa focuses on her dream: joining the Palestinian Security Forces. Her strong personality and rebellious attitude land Walaa in constant trouble with her superiors, revealing the complexities of growing up female under occupation.

A Q&A with director Christy Garland follows the screening.



Resilience in Motion | In Their Own Words

“Watching her navigate obstacles coming at her from all sides—the refugee camp she was raised in, the military occupation that surrounds it, her family, the past and even from within herself sometimes—Walaa challenges our notions of a ‘good, well-behaved girl’ because she refuses to acquiesce. This is what I love about her.  She’s irrepressible on every level; professional, personal, and ultimately political. While it leads to some painful life lessons, ultimately she shares her strength with others and learns what it means to be a Palestinian woman, which is nothing if not resilient. She takes a beating, brushes herself off, gets back up, and continues to grow, like that flower that somehow manages to penetrate concrete. In audiences I’ve seen her inspire love, admiration, dislike and frustration, but one thing she will never inspire is pity.  This girl’s got her own back.”

– Christy Garland | Director, What Walaa Wants