Sammy Rat Rios


Afomia Hailemeskel


Creative Team

Written & Directed by
Hayley Durelle

Cinematography & Editing by
Kirk W. Johnson


Sound Engineering by
Ian Westmoreland
& Liquid Reel Media


Research by
Chloe Nord


"Okay I'll Pivot"
Written & Performed by
Rat Rios


"The World's Yr Oyster"
"angelic sounds 2"
Written & Performed by
Good Vacation


Work commissioned by Portland Playhouse for the 2022 Return to Wonderland Festival, produced by Charles Grant. Return to Wonderland is a short film festival that invites artists across disciplines to respond to the current moment in our country, and our world.

Artist Bios

Sammy Rat Rios | 'Kayla' 

Sammy Rat Rios (she/they) currently resides in Portland, Oregon. Rios received a B.F.A. in Theatre Studies from Southern Methodist University and acts, writes, directs, and designs for theatre and film. Rios is an interdisciplinary performing and visual artist with a mission to redefine the theatrical experience through creative ways of storytelling.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you may have seen Rios trying to sell you cheese or guitars or a credit card on TV - whatever pays the bills, right? They are also a songwriter & producer for a SUPER COOL 80s New Wave solo project 'Rat Rios'  and compose original music for podcasts and film. When they aren't creating art, you will find them either outside in the PNW's lush landscape, or holed up in their treehouse with their partner, animals, and plants, indulging in video games and vegan cuisine.

Afomia Hailemeskel | 'Tori'

Afomia Hailemeskel (she/her) is an Ethiopian-American actor, educator, consultant and content creator based in Los Angeles. She received a BFA in Theatre Studies from Southern Methodist University, and was a member of the diversity scholar program at Upright Citizen’s Brigade where she trained in improv and sketch comedy.

Currently, she spends her time as a Producer and Talent for Smile Media LLC, a Private Digital Strategy Consultant where she specializes in helping brands and individuals develop viral content formulas and maintain authenticity in a digital space, and a Boundaries and Consent educator through the Share The Load Consent Educator Program. You can find her work on the YouTube channel Smile Squad Comedy.

Hayley Durelle | Writer & Director

Hayley Durelle (she/her) is delighted by women who experiment fearlessly with their art and believe in their biggest ideas. As a director, writer, occasional zinester, and avid reader, she seeks out stories of women at the intersections of art, culture, class, and queerness. She spends her daytime hours fundraising for the regional theatre company Portland Playhouse. With an artistic background in theatre, "Walla Walla" is Hayley's first film.

Kirk W. Johnson | Cinematography & Editing

Kirk W. Johnson (he/him) is a photographer and filmmaker who thrives on helping other artists tell their stories. His work as a cinematographer includes the feature films The Girls on Liberty Street (Official Selection: Chicago International Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival) and Mandarose (Best Narrative Feature: Northwest Filmmakers Festival) as well as many narrative and non-narrative short films and documentaries.

He has also produced promotional content for organizations such as Portland Playhouse, Public Annex, Street Roots, the Chehalem Cultural Center, and the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, as well as music videos for 101.9 KINK, Live 95.5, and local artists like New Here, Kelly Bosworth, and Clara Baker. Originally from the Chicago area, he struggles to believe he has lived in Portland for over a decade and insists there must be some kind of mathematical error. You can find his work at