Take heart, Marylanders: There will be a fresh film fest in Baltimore this summer. The New/Next Film Festival will bring movies and events to the Charles Theatre over the weekend of Aug. 18.

Produced by WYPR, the festival will call back to the days when the Maryland Film Festival was held in the historic Charles Theatre and “will offer Baltimore the first opportunity in many years to experience a world-class film festival under one roof,” according to a press release from WYPR.

“The idea was really sparked by the announcement there wasn’t gonna be a fest in 2023,” said Eric Hatch, who worked with the Maryland Film Festival for 11 years as curator and program director. That festival, which began in 1999 and moved to the Parkway Theatre in 2017, was touted for its opening night shorts program.

Hatch and his New/Next co-producer Sam Sessa, director of events and community partnerships at WTMD and WYPR, began to have conversations about an event that could take its place and recreate some of the early magic, but only if the right funding and venues signed on. Having “the Charles Theatre on board was the huge piece that needed to come into place,” Hatch told The Baltimore Banner. Other partners such as the Abell Foundation and the Maryland State Arts Council helped make the dream a reality.

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WYPR and WTMD are media partners of The Baltimore Banner.

Hatch has a long career organizing events for artists in Baltimore. He co-founded the Red Room, which produces the High Zero experimental music festival, and Beyond Video, a nonprofit video-rental library in Remington. He’s also worked with other film festivals around the nation and promised that local audiences will be able to meet filmmakers and have conversations about the screenings at Now/Next. And while there is a plan to have some events in the Baltimore festival’s lineup that aren’t centered around movies, rest assured: ”The focus will be film,” Hatch said.

More information will be available soon.


Imani is an Arts and Culture writer with a background in libraries. She loves to read, hike and brag about her friends. 

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