Layla M.

Layla M.

98 min.
Mijke de Jong
Jan Eilander | Mijke de Jong


Layla is an 18-year old girl, born and raised in Amsterdam. Layla is smart, witty and stubborn – and of Moroccan background. In the times of constant terrorist threat, she struggles with the increasing suspicion towards girls with headscarves and boys with beards that she witnesses every day. While her frustration grows, her faith intensifies. Eventually, she joins a group of Muslims who fight for their practise of Islam. Layla posts films online depicting the horrors in Syria and Gaza and makes political flyers. And she flirts with the charismatic Abdel.

When her peaceful brother and she are arrested by the police, Layla, feeling hurt and isolated in her anger, more and more in conflict with her parents, is left with only one option: to leave home. She chooses marriage, with Abdel. After their wedding, Layla and Abdel roam the country together, perform ‘missionary work’, and raise money for the good cause. But after they narrowly escape a raid by the Belgian police on a group of young jihadists, they have to flee, to the Middle East.

Layla encounters a world that nurtures her ideas initially, but finally confronts her with an impossible choice.



Main cast

  • Nora El Koussour
  • Ilias Addab


  • Mohammed Azaay
  • Esma Abouzahra
  • Bilal Wahib
  • Nezha Karim
  • Ayisha Siddiqi
  • Yasmina Amajoud
  • Aziz Akazim
  • Bobbie Koek
  • Hassan Akkouch


  • director of photography Danny Elsen SBC
  • editing Dorith Vinken NCE
  • original soundtrack Can Erdogan
  • producer Frans van Gestel | Arnold Heslenfeld | Laurette Schillings
  • co-producer Marina Blok | Dirk Impens | Alexander Wadouh | Marcos Kantis | Rula Nasser
  • production design Jorien Sont
  • costumes Jacqueline Steijlen
  • make-up & hair Trudy Buren
  • sound Joost Roskam
  • line producer Jet Christiaanse | Chantal Nissen | Rula Nasser
  • 1st AD Anne van Dongen
  • casting Rebecca van Unen


  • Toronto International Film Festival 08 - 18 September 2016