Joni Renee Whitworth

Queer Quarantine: "Lilies" Film Takes Home Awards at Short Film Festivals


Portland, OR -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/13/2021 --When COVID lockdowns began, poet Joni Renee Whitworth instituted a daily writing practice to ward off doomscrolling. The writing habit led to a messy basket full of papers, post-it notes, and a long series of poetic missives about the intersections of class, ability, LGBTQ issues and in the time of COVID. Once they knew they had a strong piece, Whitworth reached out to a filmmaker friend, Hannah Piper Burns, to see if they could generate visuals to accompany the poetry. That collaboration resulted in "Lilies", a queer love story and short film set during 2020's COVID lockdowns, that is now winning awards at film festivals all over the United States.

"Lilies" is brainy, but for the body. In quarantine, the personal and political collide and comingle, forcing one woman to interrogate birth, becoming, class, femme health, and gay sufficiency. These themes are set against footage drawn from farm simulator games, archival agricultural footage, stock footage, domestic scenes, and psychedelic abstraction to depict acts of homemaking, homesteading, domestic minutiae, and femme competence.

"We are proud to be queer, femme, neurodivergent artists creating content that reflects our lived experience and intimate subjectivity," Whitworth says.

"Lilies" is the second award-winning film to come from Future Prairie, a queer production company and art museum based in downtown Portland, Oregon. Future Prairie pays marginalized artists to create art that features the future while centering the narratives of women, disabled, racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities, and low-income individuals.

"Lilies" will premiere at the Fertile Ground Festival of New Works (January 28 - February 7, 2021) and screen at the drive-in Oregon Short Film Festival, the Hollywood Art and Movie Awards, and the IndieFEST Film Awards.

"I was thrilled when Joni approached me to create a video backdrop for this piece," said Burns, "Joni's poem is constantly and elegantly shifting scale. I wanted to highlight that and to illustrate the permeability of attention as both a phenomenon of the current condition of our response to the trauma of the pandemic more acutely. In Lilies, mundanity kind of meets immediacy. What we created is greater than the sum of its parts and to me, that's what makes collaboration magical.

About Joni Renee Whitworth (they/them)
Joni Renee Whitworth is a poet and curator from rural Oregon. They have performed at The Moth, the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts, and the Museum of Contemporary Art alongside Marina Abramovic. Whitworth served as the inaugural Artist in Residence at Portland Parks and Recreation, Poet in Residence for Oregon State University's Trillium Project, and 2020 Queer Hero for the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest. Their writing explores themes of nature, future, family, and the neurodivergent body, and has appeared in Lambda Literary, Tin House, Oregon Humanities, Proximity Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, Eclectica, Pivot, SWWIM, Smeuse, Superstition Review, xoJane, Inverted Syntax, Unearthed Literary Journal, Sinister Wisdom, Dime Show Review, and The Write Launch. See more at:

About Hannah Piper Burns (she/her)
Hannah Piper Burns is an extramundane anthropologist of her culture's phenomena, detritus, kitsch, and trauma, working across time-based art, text, curation, & divination. She is guided by the axioms "as above, so below" and "not either/or, but both and yes." Her project-based multimedia practice evokes ambivalent embodiment, intimacy with complicity, and metaphysical mundanity. She plays fast and loose with the idea of mediums and materials. See more at:

About Future Prairie
Future Prairie is a queer art museum, artist collective, and production company founded in January 2018. Future Prairie hosts artist residencies in beautiful downtown Portland, Oregon, and they pay marginalized artists to create art. Their work centers the narratives of women, disabled, racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual minorities, and low-income individuals. Their curatorial team is comprised of opera singer Emmanuel Henreid, filmmaker Hannah Hefner, and performance artist Tiana Garoogian. See more at:

Link to "Lilies" video:

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Joni Renee Whitworth