Director's Statement

When I wrote the proposal for this short film in the Spring, it imagined a future in which the supreme court had overturned Roe V. Wade, and a "trigger law" in neighboring Idaho went into effect, criminalizing abortion in the state.

On the morning of Friday, June 24, during what turned out to be my last conversation with my beloved grandmother, I got to tell her about this project. How I was commissioned to make this short film with my extremely talented partner, about best friends hitting the road together and finding fun in a stressful situation.

While I was talking, Durelle (my grandmother) gestured to the small hospital TV above my head. We watched the news crawl across the screen – "Supreme Court Overturns Roe V. Wade".

My grandma and I, 2017

So that imagined future was suddenly real. In 30 days, it would become a felony for healthcare providers in Idaho to perform or attempt to perform abortions, punishable by prison time.

Since then I've been thinking a lot about bodily autonomy. While I was furious that my grandmother lived to see this work undone, I was also extremely grateful that she was able to maintain control over her own body through the end of her life. Her doctors respected her choice to forgo an invasive surgical intervention. Her family supported her choice to receive palliative care in her home.

Durelle spent her last few days as comfortable as she could be, where her walls were filled with at least 4 generations of family photos and she could see the blooming dogwood tree from her window. Even after death her autonomy was upheld – her plans for her body were carried out without question.

On Thursday, August 25, as Kirk (talented partner) and I were working towards our final edit of the film, Idaho's trigger law went into effect, moving the film's premise out of the realm of speculative fiction. Now, it more literally reflects the political reality of this time and place.

–Hayley Durelle, September 2023

"Walla Walla isn’t a dark polemic focused on the inevitable suffering that the decision [overturning Roe v. Wade] will engender. Rather, aided by naturalistic performances from the two leads, it’s a testament to the way friendship can temper even the most adverse times. Don’t let the bastards get you down, indeed." –Marc Mohan, Oregon Arts Watch 


Shot and edited in the period between the overturn of Roe V. Wade and Idaho's extreme abortion bans taking effect, Walla Walla is a portrait of two friends relentlessly seeking joy in an unfair world.

At the time we were filming*, the closest abortion providers to Idaho’s western border are in Walla Walla, WA and Bend, OR. Walla Walla is closest to Boise, Idaho's capital and largest city – about a 4 1/2 hour drive. Now that it's a felony for healthcare providers in Idaho to perform abortions, Walla Walla is the closest point of access for many folks in Idaho.

*Planned Parenthood anticipates opening a clinic in the border town Ontario, OR, in early 2023. This will be a closer option for many Idahoans, and still the only clinic within a 200 mile radius.

Poster from a screening of the film in Walla Walla, WA. The event was a fundraiser for the local Planned Parenthood affiliate.