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WYPR Announces Baltimore’s New/Next Film Festival

A logo that reads WYPR Presents New/Next Film Fest.Artwork by Alex Fine.

Eric Allen Hatch, who contributed the “Why I am Hopeful” piece to our site in 2018 among other pieces, is announcing today the New/Next Film Festival, to take place in Baltimore from August 18-20. New/Next was organized in response to the news that the Maryland Film Festival, founded in 1999 and where Hatch previously worked as Director of Programming between 2010 and 2018, would not be having a 2023 edition. To take place at the Charles Theater, New/Next will spotlight emerging works from international filmmakers with a concerted emphasis on presenting new and repertory titles from the Baltimore film community. Festival selections will be curated by Hatch.

The press release from Baltimore NPR flagship station 88.1 WYPR, which will host the festival, reads: 

“On behalf of the entire WYPR and WTMD staff and board, with thanks to the Abell Foundation, BakerArtist.org 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 Tom Livingston, WYPR’s interim general manager. “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.” 

In order to deliver a film festival on such a compressed timetable, Next/Next is partnering with The Charles Theatre – formerly the home venue for MdFF for over a decade beginning with its inaugural 1999 edition. New/Next will offer Baltimore the first opportunity in many years to experience a world-class film festival with all of its screens under one roof. 

“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 has curated films at the Baltimore Museum of Art, 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.” 

Support for The New/Next Film Festival comes from the Maryland State Arts Council, The Abell Foundation, BakerArtist.org, the Baltimore Community Foundation and the  Maryland Film Office. 

New/Next co-founder and creative director Eric Allen Hatch is a film curator, critic, and distributor based in Baltimore. From 2007-2018 he worked as a film programmer for Maryland Film Festival, serving as their director of programming from 2010 until leaving  the organization in 2018. Previously, he created and programmed the First Thursdays  Film Series at the BMA, authored hundreds of film and music criticism pieces for  Baltimore City Paper, and co-founded the Red Room, the organization behind the High  Zero experimental music festival. Hatch is the theatrical distributor of the films One Man Dies a Million Times (Jessica Oreck, 2019) and Naked Gardens (Ivete Lucas and  Patrick Bresnan, 2022), and a co-owner of Beyond Video, Baltimore’s non-profit video rental library. 

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