As its name implies, this weekend’s New/Next Film Festival at the Charles Theatre has its sights set on the future.

“A lot of film festivals really prioritize red carpets and celebrities. They want George Clooney there or whatever,” said the Baltimore event’s director of programming, Eric Allen Hatch. “There will be celebrities at New/Next — we just won’t know who they were for about five years.”

With audiences across the country showing up for big-budget theater titles like “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer,” New/Next offers local movie fans a chance to spot the next wave of directors before they ascend to Hollywood’s A-list. The three-day event, co-founded by Hatch and Sam Sessa, another veteran of the local arts scene, serves another purpose as well: filling the void left by this year’s cancellation of the Maryland Film Festival.

Presented by WYPR, New/Next’s slate includes 23 full-length films and roughly 40 shorts. Many entries boast local ties, a point of emphasis for Hatch, the festival’s programmer.

Read full article: Baltimore’s New/Next Film Festival on hunt for next big director – The Baltimore Banner