Rome film fest shifts 2009 dates

Fourth edition will take place Oct. 15-22

ROME -- The Rome Film Festival's 2009 edition will take place a week earlier than scheduled for this year, the festival announced Thursday, dramatically shortening the distance from the end of the Venice Film Festival to Rome's opening night.

Venice announced in September that it will move its start up by a week, a move that, when combined with Rome's date change, will shorten the span between Venice's close and Rome's opening to a mere 33 days, compared to 45 this year.

The dates for the three-year-old Rome event have been a sensitive topic since the birth of the festival, which takes place at roughly the midpoint between Italian rivals in Venice and Turin and has overlapped with the BFI London Film Festival every year.

Last year, Rome pushed its dates back slightly as part of a compromise with Venice, sparking outrage from Turin organizers.

On Thursday, officials said that Rome's fourth edition will take place Oct. 15-22, a week earlier than this year's Oct. 22-31 event. Venice previously announced it had scheduled next year's festival for Sept. 2-12.

London and Turin have not yet announced the dates for their 2009 editions.