This year may have been the inaugural New/Next Film Festival, but in many ways it felt like a return to form for the Baltimore film community. It might not have come as a surprise to some that the Maryland Film Festival, once a hub for DIY and emerging filmmakers in the late 2000s to the early 2010s, ended up in such a financial situation that they wouldn’t be able to hold their 25th anniversary event in 2023. After severing ties with their home base, The Charles Theater, to embark on a restoration project of the Parkway Theater just a few blocks away—itself a controversial and overcomplicated undertaking—and losing one of their key programmers, Eric Allen Hatch, in 2018, MdFF was primed for further decline even before the COVID pandemic digitized the whole festival season in 2020. But when they announced in 2022 the delay of their 2023 festival, locals were quick to act, with WYPR’s Director of Events & Community Engagement Sam Sessa contacting Hatch about holding their own festival. Amazingly, it happened.

Read full article: New/Next Film Festival 2023: Baltimore’s Return to the Arthouse