By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Movie lovers get ready, the 18th annual Maryland Film Festival is kicking off in Baltimore.

Ron Matz has more.

READ MORE: Scott Signs Bill Establishing Baltimore City Police Accountability Board

The tent village is up and ready as movie makers descend on the Lord Baltimore Hotel.

“You’ve already won being here,” says Director Lauren Wolkstein. “You just get to meet other filmmakers and really have a nice time getting to know new people and old friends—it really feel like you’re coming together for a celebration.”

Festival director Jed Dietz says from Maryland Institute College of Art to all around Station North, Baltimore audiences are ready for the latest in independent film.

“The festival has grown beautifully,” says Dietz. “We’re getting ready for a new film center next year, it’s sort of amazing where we’re going and I think it’s because the audiences in Baltimore really respond to what we’re doing.”

READ MORE: Gun Spotted In Driver's Car Before Baltimore Officer Dragged, Court Documents Say

Director Zach Clark says he’s back for eighth time.

“I meet other filmmakers at South by Southwest or Sundance, but I make friends at the Maryland Film Festival.

Starting next spring the festival will include the 100 year-old Parkway Theater, now being restored at North and Charles.

“Next spring the Parkway Cinema will open, the whole goal here is to have a film center with three screens showing movies that don’t come to Baltimore now,” says Dietz. “There are hundreds of movies that get reviewed in the New York Times that open in New York and other cities that we never see in Baltimore. This will be a chance for filmmakers and audiences to gather together as we do at the festival but it will now be year around.”

MORE NEWS: Maryland Weather: Sunny & Warm

The Maryland Film Festival continues through Sunday night.