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National theatrical tour for acclaimed Murmur Media/Final Cut for Real/NFB co-pro. What Walaa Wants, Christy Garland’s award-winning feature doc about a young woman trying to join the Palestinian Security Forces, opens in Canadian theatres starting January.


January 15, 2019 – Toronto – National Film Board of Canada

Hailed as one of the best feature films of 2018 by Canada’s Top Ten, Toronto filmmaker Christy Garland’s acclaimed National Film Board of Canada co-production What Walaa Wants (Murmur Media/ Final Cut for Real/NFB) is touring major cities across Canada in 2019.

Raised in a refugee camp in the West Bank while her mother was in an Israeli prison, Walaa is determined to become one of the few policewomen in the Palestinian Security Forces—not easy for a girl who breaks all the rules. Following Walaa from the age of 15 to 21, Toronto filmmaker Christy Garland uses an intimate POV to tell the compelling story of this defiant young girl, who navigates formidable obstacles and disproves the negative predictions from her surroundings and the world at large.

The film’s national tour kicks off January 25 in Montreal at the Cinéma du Parc, followed by dates at Calgary’s Globe Cinema, Edmonton’s Metro Cinema, the Winnipeg Cinematheque, and Vancouver’s Vancity Theatre. There are also two dates in Toronto: a screening at the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, followed by a weeklong run starting March 1 at TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of its Canada’s Top Ten celebration (complete screening schedule below; filmmaker Q&As to be confirmed).

Along with its Canada’s Top Ten honours, What Walaa Wants received the DGC Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary at its Canadian premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Film festival appearances for What Walaa Wants also included a world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, opening night film at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) and a spot in the Best of Fests program at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam).

More recently, the film won the Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award at New York City’s Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival, the Hilal Best Feature Award at the Doha Film Institute’s Ajyal Film Festival, and the Artistic Merit Award from Women in Film and Television Vancouver.

Garland’s films deliver strong dramatic development, poignant character transformation, and universally felt themes. Her first feature documentary, The Bastard Sings the Sweetest Song (2012, Hot Docs, Sheffield), garnered rave reviews during its theatrical release. Cheer Up (2016, Hot Docs, Edinburgh IFF) was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and will be streaming soon after a run on the documentary Channel.

What Walaa Wants is produced by Matt Code and Christy Garland (Murmur Media; Canada), Anne Köhncke (Final Cut for Real; Denmark) and Justine Pimlott (NFB Ontario Studio; Canada). The NFB executive producer is Anita Lee.

Screening schedule

  • Cinéma du Parc, Montreal, starting January 25 (select screenings with French subtitles)
  • Globe Cinema, Calgary, starting February 15
  • Metro Cinema, Edmonton, February 17 at 3 p.m.
  • Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, Toronto, February 20 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Cinematheque, Winnipeg, February 27 & 28
  • Vancity Theatre, Vancouver, February 27
  • TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto (Canada’s Top Ten), starting March 1


Related Products

Electronic Press Kit | Images, videos, information: What Walaa Wants

Associated Links

Canada’s Top Ten
Murmur Media
Final Cut for Real
Cinéma du Parc
Globe Cinema
Metro Cinema
Vancity Theatre
Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema
TIFF Bell Lightbox

Media Relations

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    Founded in 1939, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) is a one-of-a-kind producer, co-producer and distributor of distinctive, engaging, relevant and innovative documentary and animated films. As a talent incubator, it is one of the world’s leading creative centres. The NFB has enabled Canadians to tell and hear each other’s stories for over eight decades, and its films are a reliable and accessible educational resource. The NFB is also recognized around the world for its expertise in preservation and conservation, and for its rich and vibrant collection of works, which form a pillar of Canada’s cultural heritage. To date, the NFB has produced more than 14,000 works, 6,500 of which can be streamed free of charge at nfb.ca. The NFB and its productions and co-productions have earned over 7,000 awards, including 11 Oscars and an Honorary Academy Award for overall excellence in cinema.