Sundress Academy for the Arts Now Accepting Short Films for New Screenwriting Contest


Sundress Academy for the Arts Now Accepting Short Films
for New Screenwriting Contest
Deadline: April 1, 2019

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications from filmmakers across the country for their new Film Writing Contest. The contest seeks to award the best screenwriting for a short film of no more than fifteen minutes. One winner and select runners-up will be honored at a unique screening at Sundress Academy for the Arts’ Firefly Farms.

We are looking for films that highlight the creator’s writing abilities and will award the winner $250. Films must be submitted via link (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) to The screening fee is $15 per entry, though the fee will be waived for entrants who purchase or pre-order any Sundress title or broadside. Films can be no longer than fifteen minutes, but there is no minimum time requirement.

We will also accept nominations for entrants, provided the nominating person either pays the screening fee or makes a qualifying purchase. Filmmakers may submit and/or nominate as many films as they would like, so long as each is accompanied by a separate reading fee or purchase/pre-order. Entrants and nominators can place book orders or pay submission fees at our store.

All films will be viewed by members of our editorial board, and we will choose one film as the winner in mid-2019. To submit, email your Sundress store receipt for submission fee or book purchase, send a link to your film to

Be sure to note both your name and the title of the film in your email header. For those nominating others for our reading period, please include the name of nominee as well as an email address; we will solicit the link directly.

A 501(c)3 non-profit literary press collective founded in 2000, Sundress Publications is entirely volunteer-run, publishes chapbooks and full-length works in both print and digital formats, and hosts a variety of online journals. Although we are conscious of the lack of representation by women writers in literary publishing, we are a non-discriminatory publishing group focused on the creativity of all artists, regardless of race, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, education, etc.



The Women in Jazz Jazz Festival Comes to Knoxville

Women-in-Jazz-Jam-Logo-FINALElla Fitzgerald said, “The only thing better than singing is more singing.”  There will be plenty of singing at Knoxville’s first Women in Jazz Jazz Festival (WJJF) from March 18-20.

Festival organizer Kelle Jolly says, “March is Women’s History Month and it’s about time there was a festival honoring women in jazz.” Jolly has assembled a variety of concerts and activities that will take place in downtown Knoxville and at the Red Piano Lounge in Bearden. Festival t-shirts designed by Hawa Ware and Visit Knoxville will be available for sale.

The festival kicks off on Friday, March 18, with two shows by the Women in Jazz Jam Festival Band. The WJJF Band will join Kelle Jolly at noon on the WDVX Blue Plate Special in the Visit Knoxville building. At 6:oo p.m., the ladies are performing at the Knoxville Museum of Art’s “Alive After Five.” Ukesphere, a local ukulele club, will also perform. Admission for the evening show is $10 for adults, $5 for students and children under 17 are free.
The WJJF Workshops & Market will held on Saturday, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., at The Emporium building downtown. The event will include performances by youth jazz musicians, workshops for children facilitated by Knoxville Girls Rock Camp and award-winning poet Rhea Carmon, a presentation by Tennessee Archives of Moving Image and Sound on Knoxville jazz & blues women composers and a vision board workshop.  Women and girl led businesses will be set up to sell in the upstairs gallery. Admission is free.
Enjoy an early show on Saturday evening at Scruffy City Hall on Market Square. From 5:30-9:00 p.m., savor the sounds of Kelle Jolly and Will Boyd (5:30pm), Nashville’s Christina Watson (6:30pm), and Venus (the all girl band) (7:30pm) from Atlanta. Advance tickets are $15 or $20 at the door.
Sunday afternoon’s headliner, The Dara Tucker Band will be performing at 3 p.m. at Red Piano Lounge.  Advance tickets are $10 or $15 at the door.
Festival Sponsors include Visit Knoxville, WUOT, Knoxzine, the Sundress Academy for the Arts,  Appalachian Community Fund Indiegogo campaign supporters and Commissioner Amy Broyles.
For more information, contact festival organizer, Kelle Jolly at (865) 622-7174 or

Small Prestivus 2015 Recap: #WishedYouWereThere

The attendees of the 2015 Festival of Language, a stellar five hours of reading hosted at the second day of Small Prestivus 2015.

Maybe you’re not familiar with Griffith, Indiana, a northwestern, Hoosier town forty minutes south of Chicago. Maybe you’ve never tried the “sproh rootie” at the Grindhouse Cafe downtown, or mosied into the Pokro Brewing Company for a craft beer with the infamous handle, the “Dwarven Assassin.” But worse yet, what if you weren’t in Griffith on August 1st and 2nd, when this interstate oasis hosted Small Prestivus 2015?

Unless you’re Cher and you can “turn back time,” then you missed out. But the good news is Julie Demoff Larson, Small Prestivus coordinator and Blotterature Literary Magazine founder/editor, plans to keep the annual festival alive and well for years to come. With books to buy, talent to hear, workshops to play, and new friendships to forge, Small Prestivus 2015 was a moleskin journal that fits in your back pocket: small enough for every page and every name to mingle and stand-out. Small enough to matter, to take with you wherever you go.

Speaking of books you obsessively carry and crave, last Saturday’s book fair was brimming with cool titles to share and shine, with food, music, and workshops abounding too. Twelve Winters Press, Lit Fest Press, Sundress Publications, and more showed off their writers and catalogs in the sweltering heat. And when I say sweltering, I mean it. Just ask T. A. Noonan’s likely-still-healing sunburns. Yeah, Sundress works hard for the money, and T.A. wasn’t the only author on-hand to sign books and help out at the publication’s tent. Sarah Winn and Donna Vorreyer were also present, giving readings on both days to very appreciative audiences. You can check-out Sarah’s e-chap, Portage, here for free. Donna’s release, A House of Many Windows, is available for purchase at the Sundress store.

The Sundress Publications tent in action!
The Sundress Publications tent in action!

Following a night of counter-intuitive hydration and evening readings at the Pokro Brewing Company, the Small Prestivus crew of writers, editors, friends, and family gathered one last time on Sunday afternoon for the Festival of Language. This was a diverse five hour slam of fiction and poetry. Deliveries ranged from the suave, Cassonova-meets-Bukowski poems of Bill Gainer to the heart-skipping elegance of Sarah Chavez’s reevaluation of the worlds that are borne on turtle backs. Kayla Greenwell took us into her grandmother’s home and, consequently, her own heart. Bud Smith told us a story about tiger blood. Joani Reese sang from her book, Night Chorus. Robert Vaughan introduced us to Addicts & Basements, and other wondrous characters. Krista Cox captured listeners with her verses scaling the walls of online dating, with one poem rightfully shrinking a “Fisher of Women” down a size. The full list of awesome writers and their equally poignant work is formidable to say the least, and other impressive artists staked their claim to the afternoon as well.

Also making sense of internet non-sense, Adam Nicholson was on-site, establishing himself as the “harmonizer of hash tags” with a reading of the internet’s finest dismal posts. Adam was also responsible for bringing Sala to everyone’s attention at Small Prestivus, a fresh organization made by artists for artists, promoting collaboration and support of creative thinkers as far as the internet can reach. But don’t take my word for it: take Adam’s, and support his cause here.

T.A. graciously accepting a love poem from Joani Reese.
T.A. graciously accepting a love poem from Joani Reese, with Sarah Chavez eavesdropping.

In the same reader’s block as Adam, T.A. Noonan later spoke both a “compsognathus” and an “archaeopteryx” back into existence. She read excerpts from Petticoat Government and The Bone Folders, one line of the latter echoing through the weekend, “That kindergarten grin of peel. How your lips glistened like raw eggs.” She even shared fresh material for fans. You can catch her new book, The Midway Iterations, later this year from Hyacinth Girl Press.

After each round of individual readings, Jane L. Carman and Julie Demoff Larson organized a series of reading experiments. These mixed and matched all the readers and their varied works onto the same stage. Voices mingled and read in unison. Fragments collided in midair. Other experiments allowed for call-and-response theatrics as presenters read every other line of their own work as questions instead of statements, as the laughter launched and the beverages threatened to crawl their way up and out of the audience’s helpless noses. After the last experiment and a round of sixty-second reads, the Festival of Language concluded.

With bittersweet farewells, the cast of Small Prestivus 2015 left the mystical heat of Griffith in its assorted rear-view mirrors. Across the country, we attempt in vain to resume normalcy after the high of sharing work and relishing in the words of new friends. We wait for Small Prestivus 2016, where we hope you can join us in our celebration of all things small press.

Sundress Publications thanks all those who participated, as well as Julie Demoff Larson for organizing!

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(All photos courtesy of Small Prestivus 2015 unless otherwise noted.)

For a full list of occurrences, participants, and related news for next year, please view the Small Prestivus Facebook page.

SAFTA to Host National Poetry Month Festival

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Sundress Academy for the Arts and Friends Present
2015 National Poetry Month Festival

Join the Sundress Academy for the Arts and other local poetry organizations for a day-long festival that will feature readings, writing workshops, a children’s story hour, open mic, and more, all to celebrate National Poetry Month! The event will be held at the Knoxville Barnes & Noble Booksellers at 8029 Kingston Pike from 10:00AM to 6:00PM on April 25, 2015.

Writers and performers from the Knoxville Poetry Slam, Poets and Po Boys, the 5th Woman Poetry Slam, and the University of Tennessee Creative Writing Program will join SAFTA for the poetry readings, which are scheduled throughout the day. Come join the best of Knoxville’s passionate poets and writers to celebrate and support the arts in East Tennessee with Sundress Publications!

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The schedule is as follows:
10-11: Meet & Greet with SAFTA Staff
11-12: Children’s Story Hour (Stuck by Oliver Jeffers)
12-1: Teen Workshop
1-2: UT Creative Writing Program Reading
2-3: Knoxville Poetry Slam Event
3-4: Open Poetry Workshop
4-5: Poets and Po Boys & 5th Women Poetry Slam Reading
5-6: Sundress Academy for the Arts Reading & Open Mic

A percentage of Barnes and Noble sales for the day will be donated to Sundress Publications, a local 501(c)3 literary publisher and the parent organization for the Sundress Academy for the Arts.