What Walaa Wants
True North | True North | High School Outreach
Fifteen-year-old Walaa dreams of becoming a police officer in the Palestinian Security Forces, a perhaps surprising aspiration given her lack of discipline. Raised in Balata, the largest refugee camp in the West Bank, her family has felt the weight of the conflict around them—her mother spent eight years in an Israeli jail and her brother aspires to be like his cousin, who was jailed for stone-throwing. Despite her family’s discouragement, strong-willed Walaa is determined to join the police academy as a way to secure a salary for herself and serve her people. But Walaa struggles to adjust to the strict regime of military training, as her defiant attitude and independent spirit constantly clash with the rules of boot camp.
With the action moving between Walaa’s home in Balata, and the Palestinian Security Forces training camp in Jericho, director Christy Garland’s documentary uses a cinéma vérité approach to observe Walaa as she navigates obstacles to pursues her dream. Garland, who filmed over a period of six years, traces Walaa’s path from troublemaker to mature young adult, creating a refreshing portrait of a clever, tenacious and outspoken Palestinian woman.