December 5, 2018 – Toronto
National Film Board of Canada (NFB) excellence in documentary and animation is being recognized once again as Christy Garland’s NFB-co-produced feature What Walaa Wants (Murmur Media/NFB/Final Cut for Real) and Patrick Bouchard’s animated short The Subject (Le Sujet) are named to this year’s edition of Canada’s Top Ten—an annual list of the country’s finest short and feature-length films, announced by the Toronto International Film Festival on December 5.
What Walaa Wants (89 min)
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 women 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.
What Walaa Wants had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival and its Canadian premiere at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, where it received the DGC Special Jury Prize for Canadian Feature Documentary. The film was in official competition at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam as well as the Vancouver International Film Festival, where Garland received the Artistic Merit Award for the film from Women in Film and Television Vancouver. It was also the opening night film at the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM).
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, Hot Docs, Sheffield), garnered rave reviews during its theatrical release.
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.
The Subject (10 min)
In The Subject, stop-motion master Patrick Bouchard dares to place himself on centre stage, confronting his alter ego in the form of a life-size cast of his own body—beginning a physical confrontation between human and clay puppet. Pierced, slashed, chiselled, the body yields its secrets, revealing itself to be an intricate mechanism as it disgorges various objects: a microscope affording views of coursing vital fluids, or a fantastical merry-go-round evoking pleasure and ecstasy—but also fear.
Selected for the 50th Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, The Subject received the Prix MTL Grande for best Quebec short film at Montreal’s Festival Longue Vue sur le court, as well as the SICAF Choice Award at the Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Film Festival. It’s the fifth NFB film by Bouchard, who’s a three-time winner of Quebec’s Prix Iris, for The Brainwashers (2003), Dehors novembre (2005) and Bydlo(2013). The Subject is produced and executive produced by Julie Roy for the NFB’s French Animation Studio in Montreal.
Electronic Press Kit | Images, trailer, credits, synopsis: The Subject | What Walaa Wants
Canada’s Top Ten