MaxSpace

Maryland Film Festival's Jed Dietz to Retire

Dietz shepherded the growth of the festival and the launch of the Parkway Theatre.

By Max Weiss | September 19, 2018, 11:02 am

-Maryland Film Festival
MaxSpace

Maryland Film Festival's Jed Dietz to Retire

Dietz shepherded the growth of the festival and the launch of the Parkway Theatre.

By Max Weiss | September 19, 2018, 11:02 am

-Maryland Film Festival

When Jed Dietz’s wife, Julia McMillan, retired as a full-time pediatrician and hospital administrator in 2016, he took a wait and see approach to her level of happiness.

“I was curious how that would work out. She really loved what she was doing,” says Dietz, the founding director of the Maryland Film Festival. “[But] it worked out great!” he notes, sounding vaguely surprised. Dietz said McMillan had more freedom for family and hobbies but was still able to sit on the American Board of Pediatrics and mentor former residents who came to town.

This got him thinking.

Now, two years later, Dietz, who turned 70 last January, is following in his wife’s footsteps.

Sandra L. Gibson, a nationally recognized leader in arts management and administration, will take over as interim director on November 1. From there, the board will launch a search for a new executive director.

“It’s a mashup of feelings,” Dietz admits. “I’m excited. And I’m nervous. I think I’m going to miss everything. I say that with full confidence that this is the right thing to do at the right time.”

The MFF had already begun a strategic planning campaign for 2019. Now finding Dietz’s permanent replacement will be part of those plans. Dietz hopes to be as involved—or uninvolved—as the board wants him to be.

He says he’ll remain a MFF board member (although he'll likely recuse himself from the executive director search) and also continue to run the Maryland Filmmakers Fellowship, which nurtures rising talent.

“I want to do whatever it takes to keep the [MFF] going,” Dietz says. “But I also want to get out of peoples’ way.”

Dietz founded the Maryland Film Festival in 1999 and oversaw its growth into one of the most respected and beloved small festivals in the country. In May of 2017, the MFF opened the full-time Parkway Theatre, which shows independent and revival films and hosts film-related discussions and events.

Dietz, a true cinephile, plans on remaining a fixture at the Parkway. He also says he looks forward to buying his all-access pass to the yearly festival, which takes place every May. (Something tells me he’ll be able to score a comp pass.)

Beyond that? He has vague plans. He actually wants to attend more film festivals, but this time just as a civilian. Then maybe summers in Martha’s Vineyard? Or renting a villa in Tuscany? All options are on the table. Well, except for one.

“I hate golf,” Dietz says.




Meet The Author

Max Weiss is the editor-in-chief of Baltimore and a film and pop culture critic.



You May Also Like


Arts & Culture

Cameo: Katie Marquette

We talk with the host and producer of The Noir and Bizarre podcast.

Arts District

Abdu Ali Finds Newfound Passion in Podcasting

We chat with the local artist about the new season of drumBOOTY.

Arts & Culture

Novel Idea

Local free libraries spread the joy of reading across the city.


Arts District

AVAM’s New Exhibit Meditates on the Complexities of Parenting

Parenting: An Art Without A Manual opens on Saturday.

Arts & Culture

No Filter

Writer Kondwani Fidel talks about new book Hummingbirds in the Trenches.

Arts District

Afro Punk Ballet is a Sci-Fi, Futuristic Opera Like Nothing You've Seen Before

Catch the performance at The Peale Center from October 4-6.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Baltimore Japan Art Festival Returns to Station North With Illustrator Yusuke Nakamura: The two-day fest will also feature a film series and a family-friendly lineup of outdoor events.

Baltimore Musician Hunter Hooligan Debuts Song at New York Fashion Week: "Pink" served as the soundtrack to designer Stevie Boi's rose-tinted vision.

Ben Jealous Fared Well in Debate, But Will It Make a Difference?: Democratic challenger scores some points, but Gov. Larry Hogan holds a big leads in polls.

Get an Inside Look at City Architecture with Doors Open Baltimore: The fifth annual event shows off 60 unique buildings and neighborhoods.

Actor Željko Ivanek Hosts 35th Anniversary NAMI Event: The Emmy Award-winner makes his first extended stay in Baltimore since leaving Homicide: Life on the Street.