Trying to break out of its microcosm and become an anticipated yearly event that reaches film lovers throughout Los Angeles, the Other Venice Film Festival has doubled the number of film screenings planned for its second year. This year, the festival will also feature a Q&A session with legendary German film director Werner Herzog and a panel discussion with the director of the not-yet-released Sony Pictures film Lords of Dogtown.

The festival takes place Friday through Sunday, March 18th to 20th, with most screenings and events held at the Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice.

Tickets are $10 for admission to a single screening or event, $20 for the opening night screening and reception, $25 for a full day pass or $50 for an all-access festival pass. Admission to the closing night “Abbot Awards” ceremony and party is free.

Highlights of this year’s festival include the question-and-answer session with Herzog, which will follow a screening of Incident at Loch Ness, at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 18th. The film, which the filmmakers call a “mockumentary,” is directed by Zack Penn, stars Herzog and was co-produced by Venice resident Gary Marcus. An opening party with DJs and performance art will follow at 10 p.m.

On Saturday, March 19th, the festival will celebrate the films of Santa Monica/Venice skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta with a screening of his new surfing documentary Riding Giants at 7:30 p.m.

At 9:30 p.m., a new feature of the festival, screenings of music videos, will debut.

“We saw that there were two sections of under-represented filmmakers in Venice, experimental filmmakers and music video artists,” says Gary Ellenberg, an independent filmmaker who co-founded and curated the festival.

A series of avant-garde and experimental films will screen at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 19th, at a second location, Switch Studios, 316 Venice Blvd., Venice.

Ellenberg says that a majority of selections for the festival are made based on a film having some connection to Venice, whether in subject matter, being filmed there, or having members of the cast or crew who were or are local residents.

The few films that don’t have a direct Venice connection are films that festival organizers believed a Venice audience would appreciate.

“Surf films, skate films, and films with subjects that are a part of Venice community, and reflect the Venice vibe, are very likely to be chosen,” says Ellenberg.

“There are a lot of good independent filmmaker voices in Venice, some who work with Hollywood, some who work against Hollywood,” Ellenberg comments.

At 2 p.m. Sunday, March 20th, at the Switch Studios location, an ice cream truck will make a stop and serve treats before the screening of the fictional short film, The Ice Cream Man, directed by Dylan Rush, about two local Venice ice cream vendors that face off in a turf war.

“From Doc to Drama: Lords of Dogtown,” is the title of Sunday’s panel discussion at 5 p.m. at the Electric Lodge. The discussion will focus on the transformation of Stacy Peralta’s documentary on the early Venice/Santa Monica skateboard scene, dubbed Dogtown, into a feature-length drama. Original Z-boy and professional skateboarding luminary Tony Alva is scheduled to be on the panel.

The festival closes with an awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 20th, at the Electric Lodge. “Abbot” awards will be given out to festival winners and a special “Abbot” will honor Stacy Peralta, director of the documentary Dogtown and Z-boys and co-writer of the upcoming film Lords of Dogtown. However, Peralta is not expected to attend the festival or awards ceremony in person, says Ellenberg.

Music and art also play a role in the Other Venice Film Festival. The artwork of actress Lori Petty will be on display.

The band Dragonfly Project will open the festival with a performance at 7 p.m. Friday, March 18th; progressive surf rockers The Mermen will play at 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, March 19th; and Sugarbitch will play at noon on Sunday, March 20th.

Information, (310) 795-9219.

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