About the Film Festival

The first international film festival WaLa dealt with »Safety in Afghanistan«.

The WaLa International Film Festival Ladenburg tries to present a truthful picture with impressive films and encounter with remarkable people and to convey causes for the lost human dignity. The extraordinary film festival is thus not only a cultural event, but at the same time inhibit integration, by dismantling fears of meeting and inviting people to turn to other cultures and to understand their realities in life.

Each year, the festival focuses on a specific topic with a view to human dignity. In the premiere year, this was »Safety in Afghanistan«. The political situation in Afghanistan has not only brought a life as a nightmare in this country, but the political and social strategies around the world have been forced into it.

From July 19 to July 22, 2019, the International WaLa Film Festival Ladenburg was continued with the hopeful title »A Piece of Happiness« as part of the search for the lost human dignity. Humanitarian issues with the dignity of the human being will continue to be the focal points of the festival in the coming years.

In the years 2020 to 2022, the WaLa film festival paused due to corona and other reasons. In 2023 the 3rd However, the International WaLa Film Festival (WaLaIFF) will once again go in search of lost human dignity.



From the beginning of our stay in Ladenburg in 2013 until the completion of our new accommodation, 180 refugees of various nationalities were to use the building of the old Martins School as asylum home for six months.
These six months of our lives were marked by immense commitment on the part of the citizens of Ladenburg, and at the end of this short six-month period I deeply felt the heart-warming affection of Ladenburg so strong that this city became my new home in my homelessness.
At the end of these six months, all the refugees were taken to another city, but my cooperation with Ladenburg and the citizens was even greater than before.
Therefore, the feeling arose for me that I took responsibility for the well-being of the city and I want to give something back.
Therefore, I have designed the WaLa International Film Festival with great commitment to my new home. The Ladenburg Festival is intended to be a Valuable and rewarding service for my new home, a major step in the development of culture and the arts.

The name „WaLa“ came from the initial syllables of my old homeland — Warras in Afghanistan — and my new home Ladenburg. The Persian word »Wala« means »the highest and the best«. In the figurative sense, it stands for the dignity of man as his highest good. This human dignity has been lost in many civilizations.
As a symbol of the unshakable human dignity, the flower »Warras« came out from my home region, which grows even where nobody would believe it’s possible.


Mohammad Hassan Nazeri

The WaLa Team

Festival Management

The director of the Festival, Mohammad Hassan Nazeri, born in 1972, produced documentaries, including on the situation of women, children and minorities in Afghanistan, the conference led to the reconstruction of the Afghanistan’s cinema and film scene, took part on numerous festival juries (including the International Film Festival »Banff« in Canada), founded the »House of Afghan Film and Theater« (HAFT) and worked as a lecturer at the University of Kabul. In Germany, the creative artist gives lectures on the situation in Afghanistan, produced short Films for NDR, SWR and the Media Center of the University of Freiburg. He is involved in the choir at the National Theater in Mannheim and as well as in the ensemble »Theater of the World« and acted in the play »A View from the Bridge« at the National Theater Mannheim.

Board of Directors

Der aktuelle Vorstand besteht aus: Mohammed Hassan Nazeri (1. Vorsitzender), Saskia Mosler (2. Vorsitzende), Dr. Nicole Nessling (Schriftführerin), Sahar Nejati (Schatzmeisterin), Rainer Ziegler und Florian Rogge (Beisitzer)