Nightime sideview of the Charles movie marquis lit up
Photo from The Charles website/Creative Commons

Although there will be no Maryland Film Festival this year, Baltimore will host a different film event later this summer.

WYPR, Baltimore’s NPR member station, announced the New/Next Film Festival, a weekend-long celebration of film culture from Aug. 18 – 20 at The Charles Theater in Baltimore.

Films will be from all over the world, though there will be a special emphasis on new and repertory work from Baltimore’s film scene.

Former Maryland Film Festival Director of Programming Eric Allen Hatch will curate the films for the festival, which was conceived when Maryland Film Festival organizers announced they would not be putting on a festival in 2023.

The Charles Theater was home to the Maryland Film Festival for more than a decade, starting in 1999 for the festival’s inaugural year, before the event expanded to other venues.

The New/Next festival will partner with The Charles “in order to deliver a film festival on such a compressed timetable,” according to a WPYR press release.

Tom Livingston, WYPR’s interim general manager, is thrilled to be able to help the film festival happen.

“On behalf of the entire WYPR and WTMD staff and board, with thanks to the Abell Foundation, and the Baltimore Community Foundation as well as support from the State of Maryland, who together make the festival possible, it gives me great joy to be able to announce that there will be a film festival in Baltimore in the summer of 2023,” said Livingston.

He continued, “When my family moved to Baltimore in 2004, the Maryland Film Festival was one of our most cherished and annually anticipated events of the year. We were all saddened to hear that the Maryland Film Festival was going on hiatus for 2023, and I am really glad we can either provide New/Next as a bridge or just an opportunity to bring some great movies to the community.”

Hatch is New/Next’s co-founder and creative director, as well as a film curator, critic, and distributor based in Baltimore who was deeply involved in the Maryland Film Festival. From 2007-2018 he worked as a film programmer for the Maryland Film Festival and served as their director of programming from 2010 until 2018. He also created the First Thursdays Film Series at the Baltimore Museum of Art and co-founded the Red Room — the organization behind the High Zero experimental music festival.

“We’re thrilled to bring a vibrant crop of this year’s festival films to Baltimore, while also spotlighting Baltimore’s young and diverse film scene as the next great hub for U.S. independent cinema,” says Hatch, who in addition to 11 years with Maryland Film Festival and work at the BMA has curated films at the Oak Cliff Film Festival and True/False Film Festival. “Presenting a film festival within one five-screen theater creates an ideal experience for both attendees and the visiting filmmakers.”

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