The Other Venice Film Festival, billed as the only solar-powered film festival on the planet, returns for its fifth annual showing Thursday through Sunday, October 9th through 12th, at Electric Lodge, 1416 Electric Ave., Venice.

As the West Coast’s answer to the festival in Venice, Italy, The Other Venice Film Festival was founded by Reuben “Ruby” de la Casas, as a regional festival for local filmmakers. More than 90 films will be screened at the festival, which also features live music, DJs and other art forms, according to information on the festival’s Web site.

The Other Venice Film Festival also honors “filmmakers who exemplify maverick filmmaking by creating stunning and poignant cinema” with the Abbot Awards, named for Venice founder Abbot Kinney. This year’s awards ceremony will be held at 8 p.m. Sunday, October 12th, at the Electric Lodge, with music by Michael Jost, a flamenco guitarist.

Categories of the awards include Audience Choice and Local Maverick Spotlight.

Opening night begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, October 9th, with a cocktail party and kicks off the screenings at 8 p.m. with Catherine Hardwicke’s Thirteen, 2003’s film festival darling. Based on the story of Hardwicke’s 13-year-old family friend Nikki Reed, the film has come to resonate with audiences worldwide.

“When [Reed] was going through a tough transition in her life, I tried to help her find creative, not destructive activities,” Hardwicke says. “We had surfing slumber parties and life drawing classes, but she really wanted to act.”

Reed’s wish came true as they wrote the screenplay that became Thirteen, and she starred in the film.

The film won prizes at Sundance, Locarno, Deauxville, and various other festivals, Hardwicke says.

“We found by writing a very specific story about a very specific family in Culver City in 2003, it actually connected to people all over the world,” Hardwicke says. “Judges and therapists reminded audiences at screenings that the events depicted in the film were actually much milder than problems they dealt with on a daily basis, like unplanned pregnancies, DUIs, suicide attempts [Ö]

“Exploring this subject in film makes me continually aware of the need for adults, parents, teachers, family members to stay connected to the kids in their lives and be creative, positive influences.”

Hardwicke was featured in The Other Venice Film Festival for her “love letter to Venice,” The Lords of Dogtown, a few years ago, and returns for a question-and-answer session at the end of the screening of Thirteen.

Other films screened include Road Reps during the festival’s “World Premiere Night” at 8 p.m. Friday, October 10th. The “romantic comedy about four surfers on a roadtrip” will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the director and cast members.

Admission is $10 per screening, $50 for a day pass and $11 for a festival pass.

Information, (877) 725-8849.

For a full festival lineup, schedule and other information, othervenicefilmfestival.com/.

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