The New/Next Film Festival, presented by 88.1 WYPR and taking place August 18-20, 2023 in Baltimore’s historic five-screen Charles Theatre, continued its lineup announcements today with 25+ more titles, including many with roots in Maryland’s own fertile film scene.
Making its Baltimore debut after its June 2023 world premiere at Sheffield DocFest is The Body Politic, Gabriel Francis Paz Goodenough’s documentary embedded in Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott’s efforts to reduce the city’s murder rate. Mayor Scott is expected to participate in a Q+A following New/Next’s screening.
Other Baltimore-tied features announced today for New/Next are:
- Harka, the Cannes-premiered, Tunisia-set first narrative feature by Lotfy Nathan, director of the iconic Baltimore documentary 12 O’Clock Boys;
- The Legend of MexMan, a documentary in the lineage of American Movie following a maverick genre filmmaker, directed by Baltimore-raised Josh Polon;
- De Lo Mio, a narrative following two “ride or die” sisters who reunite with their estranged brother in the Dominican Republic, directed by former Baltimorean Diana Peralta with a crew made largely of fellow Johns Hopkins Film and Media Studies alum.
Shorts by current or former Baltimoreans announced today for New/Next are:
In The Flesh, Daphne Gardner’s Sundance-premiered body-horror-com;
Like You Think You Know Me, a Baltimore-made narrative by Marly Hernandez;
Order for Pickup, directed by Jackie! Zhou, scored by Baltimorean Dan Deacon;
Scotty’s Vag, a narrative short by Chaconne Marin-Berkowicz;
Side Hustle, a doc-narrative hybrid by Abby Harri;
Song Dog, a narrative by Danielle Criqui starring Baltimorean Suzie Doogan;
Theo Anthony Makes a Stool, Joseph Stankus’s doc short following the titular director of Rat Film and All Light, Everywhere on his latest project.
“Baltimore’s film scene has produced an incredible array of talent in recent years,” said New/Next director of programming Eric Allen Hatch, “unique voices that are making their mark globally. New/Next strives to spotlight exceptional local work in conversation with the best emerging independent cinema from all over the world.”
Additional features announced today for New/Next today are:
DOGLEG (2023 Al Warren) | NARRATIVE FEATURE
A balding film director loses his fiancé’s dog at a gender reveal party on the morning of an important shoot.
MILISUTHANDO (2023 Milisuthandu Bongela) | DOC FEATURE
Explored through the memories of Milisuthando, who grew up during apartheid but didn’t know it was happening until it was over, this story is a meditation on power, intimacy, difference, and the weight of loving and fearing your enemy in a time of decolonisation.
NAKED GARDENS (2022 Ivete Lucas and Patrick Evans) | DOC FEATURE
A visually stunning narrative documentary, NAKED GARDENS immerses audiences in the complex, unseen world of a family nudist resort in the Florida Everglades.
Additional shorts announced today for New/Next are:
ALPHA KINGS (Faye Tsakas & Enrique Pedráza-Botero)
CARMEN (Cristine Brache)
CONTENT: THE LO-FI MAN (Brian Lonano + Blake Meyers)
COMADRE (Nicole Chi)
“DELTA AIRLINE SAFTEY VIDEO [sic] (Jordan Michael Blake)
END ZONE (Guy Kozak)
THE FOUNDRY (Robert Machoian)
GUSSY (Chris Osborn)
I THOUGHT THE WORLD OF YOU (Kurt Walker)
THE INVITE (Catherine Licata)
A SHORT STORY (Bi Gan)
STEP INTO THE MATTRESS (Erin Vassilopoulos)
TRANSFERENCE (Dylan Trupiano)
WALK OUT NICE AND SMOOTH (Kerry O’Neill)
New/Next lineup announcements will continue through July. Among the titles still to be announced are Opening and Closing Night films and a film hosted by Beach House.
Support for New/Next Film Fest comes from the William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund, creator of the Baker Artist Portfolios, The Abell Foundation, The Baltimore Community Foundation, The State of Maryland, The Maryland Film Office and The Maryland State Arts Council.
All-access passes for New/Next are available now.
ALL TITLES ANNOUNCED TO DATE FOR NEW/NEXT FILM FEST:
22 ROOMS (2023 Albert Birney) | EXPERIMENTAL SHORT
In your life you will enter many rooms. These are 22 of them. World premiere.
ALPHA KINGS (2023 Faye Tsakas & Enrique Pedráza-Botero) | DOC SHORT
From a rented mansion in suburbian Texas, a group of young men sell a hyperbolic, alpha-male version of themselves on the internet.
ANOTHER BODY (2023 Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn) | DOC FEATURE
ANOTHER BODY follows a college student’s search for answers and justice after she discovers
deepfake pornography of herself circulating online.
THE BODY POLITIC (2023 Gabriel Francis Paz Goodenough) | DOC FEATURE
THE BODY POLITIC follows Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott during an unprecedented election and throughout his first year in office as he puts his political future on the line in hopes of saving lives by implementing a new violence reduction policy in the city.
CARMEN (2023 Cristine Brache) | NARRATIVE SHORT
Lazara loses her cool while helping her unstable mother, Carmen, run risky errands.
CARPET COWBOYS (2023 Emily MacKenzie and Noah Collier) | DOC FEATURE
In Dalton, Georgia, the “Carpet Capital of the World,” we meet the unsung creators behind the psychedelic carpets lining casinos, offices, and hotel hallways. Chief among these textile honchos is Roderick James, a Scottish expat with a self-styled outlaw-country manner—and countless schemes to grab himself a larger share of the American dream. Brimming with stranger-than-fiction characters, Carpet Cowboys delivers rich documentary portraiture and bursts of outrageous humor in the tradition of American Movie, Hands on a Hardbody, and Winnebago Man. World Premiere.
COMADRE (2022 Nicole Chi) | NARRATIVE SHORT
Marielitos is a Mexican immigrant nanny struggling with the last days of her current nanny job, and trying to find a new one.
CONTENT: THE LO-FI MAN (2022 Brian Lonano + Blake Meyers) | NARRATIVE SHORT
“Filmmaker” Brian Lonano tries to talk about a beloved cult film. What happens next will shock you.
DAD & STEP-DAD (2023 Tynan DeLong) | NARRATIVE FEATURE
Jim and Dave, a dad and a step-dad, have trouble bonding during a 3-day weekend upstate with their son, Branson. Starring Colin Burgess, Anthony Oberbeck, Brian Fiddyment, and Clare O’Kane.
DE LO MIO (2019 Diana Peralta) | NARRATIVE FEATURE
Two “ride or die” sisters raised in NYC reunite with their estranged brother in the Dominican Republic to clean out their late father’s childhood home. The siblings laugh, brawl, and face their demons as they come to terms with letting go of their last connection to their motherland.
“DELTA AIRLINE SAFTEY VIDEO [sic] (2023 Jordan Michael Blake) | NARRATIVE SHORT
EARTH SEEN FROM ABOVE (2023 Harrison Atkins) | NARRATIVE SHORT
A tranquil day in the park is interrupted by the onset of an unnerving sensation. Two couples find their lives inexplicably intermingled. World Premiere.
END ZONE (2022 Guy Kozak) | NARRATIVE SHORT
Youth football player #13 lies unconscious after a brutal in-game collision. While a medical crew begins emergency procedures, the boy descends into a menacing odyssey through his own mind. As he plunges deeper into his subconscious, fantasy and reality coalesce into an operatic fever dream.
GOOD CONDITION (2023 Frank Mosley) | NARRATIVE SHORT
Barry’s starting over.
THE GRAVITY [La Gravité] (2023 Cédric Ido) | NARRATIVE FEATURE
An unprecedented alignment of planets impacting gravity will upset the balance of a ghetto and the destiny of two duos of brothers eager to do anything for their freedom in an unceasing fight between old and new generations. Grounded by the deep relationship depicted between the brothers and capped off with an explosive finale, director Cédric Ido’s second feature is a bold entry in the sci-fi genre.
GUSSY (2022 Chris Osborn) | NARRATIVE SHORT
As children, Miles and Rocky hunted a monster they thought they saw in the woods. Twenty years later, they’re still searching.
HARKA (2022 Lotfy Nathan) | NARRATIVE FEATURE
When his father dies, Ali has to take care of his two younger sisters in a house from which they will soon be evicted. Faced with this sudden responsibility and the injustices he is confronted with, Ali awakens to anger and revolt.
THE INFLUENCER (2023 Lael Rogers) | NARRATIVE SHORT
A social media influencer describes her perfect day harvesting the eyes and minds of her followers to achieve immortality. U.S. Premiere.
IN THE FLESH (2023 Daphne Gardner) | NARRATIVE SHORT
Tracey is just trying to jerk off with her bathtub faucet like normal when some old memories dredge themselves up, the pipes explode with dirty water, and she starts leaking black goo.
THE INVITE (2023 Catherine Licata) | NARRATIVE SHORT
Encouraged by a self-help audiobook, a housekeeper reaches for connection with her employer.
I THOUGHT THE WORLD OF YOU (2022 Kurt Walker) | NARRATIVE SHORT
The speculative tale of Canadian outsider musician Lewis and the belated discovery of his 1983 album L’Amour. A love story composed in myth and song.
KING COAL (2023 Elaine McMillion Sheldon) | DOC FEATURE
A lyrical tapestry of a place and people, KING COAL meditates on the complex history and future of the coal industry, the communities it has shaped, the myths it has created. While deeply situated in Central Appalachia, the film transcends time and place, emphasizing the ways in which all are connected through an immersive mosaic of belonging, ritual, and imagination. Emerging from the long shadows of the coal mines, KING COAL untangles the pain from the beauty, and illuminates the innately human capacity for change.
THE LEGEND OF MEXMAN (2023 Josh Polon) | DOC FEATURE
Germán Alonso strives to create his first feature film, the fantastical sci-fi epic MEXMAN, in spite of struggles with his producers, an unrequited love, and tensions with a documentary crew.
LIKE YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME (2023 Marly Hernandez) | NARRATIVE SHORT
MANDARINS (2023 Chelsie Pennello) | NARRATIVE SHORT
A black sheep attempts to eulogize her mother with a story about pigeons.
MARGIE SOUDEK’S SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS (2023 Meredith Moore) | DOC SHORT
An artist and visual-effects instructor connects with her aging grandmother, Margie, through collecting, art-making, and obsessing as a way to enhance reality. Produced by Jonna McKone, executive produced by MEMORY (Rat Film; Crestone; All Light, Everywhere), and scored by Dan Deacon.
MAX ROACH: THE DRUM ALSO WALTZES (2023 Sam Pollard and Ben Shapiro) | DOC FEATURE
MAX ROACH: THE DRUM ALSO WALTZES explores the life and music of the legendary drummer, composer, bandleader, and social activist through a remarkable series of creative peaks, struggles, and personal reinventions—from the Jim Crow era to the Civil Rights years, surveying the heady days of post-war modern jazz to hip-hop and beyond.
MILISUTHANDO (2023 Milisuthandu Bongela) | DOC FEATURE
Explored through the memories of Milisuthando, who grew up during apartheid but didn’t know it was happening until it was over, the story is a meditation on power, intimacy, difference, and the weight of loving and fearing your enemy in a time of decolonisation.
NAKED GARDENS (2022 Ivete Lucas and Patrick Evans) | DOC FEATURE
A visually stunning narrative documentary, NAKED GARDENS immerses audiences in the complex, unseen world of a family nudist resort in the Florida Everglades. Filmed over one season at this lush tropical campsite, the film follows the stories of individuals drawn to an unusual community, which promises both non-conformist values and, more importantly for some, a cheap place to live.
OPENING NIGHT PARTY
Co-headlined by Baltimore hip-hop and club icons TT the Artist and Dapper Dan Midas.
ORDER FOR PICKUP (2023 Jackie! Zhou) | NARRATIVE SHORT
Trapped in a cycle of work and self-isolation, burnt out Kelsey’s reality starts to blur until an irregular order for pickup disrupts everything. Original music by Dan Deacon.
PREP (2023 Raymond Knudsen) | NARRATIVE SHORT
A bodybuilding fever dream fueled by childhood trauma, food porn and acid techno music.
PUBLIC SURFACES (2023 Gillian Waldo) | DOC SHORT
In 1964, Baltimore became the second city in the country to pass a 1% for Art law, allocating one percent of the construction budget for any public building to commissioning a new piece of art. Most of the buildings were public schools, and by 2016, the city revealed that many of the pieces had gone missing. Through landscapes of Baltimore and depictions of the sculptures, the film explores the history of the program, the failures of modernism, the neglect of the school system, and asks who public art can really serve. World Premiere.
ROTTING IN THE SUN (2023 Sebastián Silva) | NARRATIVE FEATURE
Writer-director Sebastián Silva’s Sundance hit ROTTING IN THE SUN is a darkly funny and refreshingly audacious meta-comedy that skewers the business of filmmaking and our self-obsessed culture. While unwinding at a Mexican gay beach town, depressed director Sebastián Silva meets gregarious Instagram influencer Jordan Firstman (both playing versions of themselves), and Sebastián reluctantly agrees to collaborate on an upcoming project. But when Jordan arrives back in Mexico City, Sebastián is nowhere to be found, and Jordan embarks on a wildly unpredictable, quasi-detective journey.
SCOTTY’S VAG (2022 Chaconne Marin-Berkowicz) | NARRATIVE SHORT
The night of a sorority hazing event, Scotty, a college freshman, must make an impression on the older girl she wants as her “big.” As the night goes on, Scotty realizes how far she’s willing to go to prove herself. Power dynamics are not what they seem.
We’ll never tell.
SEEDS (2023 Pisie Hochheim & Tony Oswald) | NARRATIVE SHORT
After a visit from the ghost of her grandmother, a writer secretly fosters the growth of a mysterious pepper plant in her mother’s garden. As the seed bears fruit, she begins to question the choices the women before her made, and her own role in her family’s lineage. World Premiere.
A SHORT STORY (2022 BI GAN) | NARRATIVE SHORT
An abandoned cat embarks on a journey to discover the most precious thing in the world.
SIDE HUSTLE (2023 Abby Harri) | HYBRID SHORT
Eden, a dancer in New York City, pays the bills with financial support from her sugar daddy. Documentary interviews with sugar babies and sex workers weave into Eden’s fictional story through her consumption and interaction with social media, contextualizing her experience within a community of voices.
SOME DAY ALL THIS WILL BE YOURS (2023 Cricket Arrison) | EXPERIMENTAL SHORT
An increasingly unhinged pregnant woman gives a house tour. Equal parts horror and comedy, this queer autofiction short was shot in the filmmaker’s childhood home.
SONG DOG (2023 Danielle Criqui) | NARRATIVE SHORT
SOMEWHERE QUIET (2023 Olivia West Lloyd) | NARRATIVE FEATURE
Meg is trying to readjust to normalcy after surviving a traumatic kidnapping — but her grasp on reality soon starts to deteriorate when she travels with her husband to his wealthy family’s isolated compound. Starring Jennifer Kim, Marin Ireland, Kentucker Audley and Michéal Neeson.
THEO ANTHONY MAKES A STOOL (2023 Joseph Stankus) | DOC SHORT
The director of Baltimore documentaries Rat Film and All Light, Everywhere talks us through the steps of his latest project: a wooden stool.
TRANSFERENCE (2022 Dylan Trupiano) | SHORT
In the Peruvian village of Palma Real, a member of the Ese’Eja nation shares the story of falling in love and running away with his wife. As he urges for their memory to live on, he slowly slips into a haunting reverie. Made as part of Playlab Films’ Creators Lab with the consultancy of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
WALK OUT NICE AND SMOOTH (2023 Kerry O’Neill) | NARRATIVE SHORT
13-year-old Dani and their mother Anne embark on an all-day odyssey to flip a stolen laptop and make a modest score for themselves. Pressures mount as the day runs long, forcing Dani to take drastic measures that unexpectedly bring the two of them closer.