Event will now take place Oct. 22-31

The Rome Film Festival has bowed to pressure from Italy’s film community over its contentiously close dates with Venice by pushing its sked back to Oct. 22-31.

The deep-pocketed fest sparked much contention when organizers announced plans earlier this month to slate its third edition for Oct. 2-12 this year.

An early October slot for Rome would have set Italy’s two high-profile events less than one month apart: The Venice Film Festival’s 65th edition takes place Aug. 27-Sept. 6, with recently reupped topper Marco Mueller at the helm.

Rome’s date change had prompted a crescendo of protest, culminating with Italo culture czar Francesco Rutelli recently asking Rome to stop stepping on Venice’s toes.

Rome fest prexy Goffredo Bettini announced Friday that he has managed to sort out the scheduling conflict caused by the classical music season at the fest’s Auditorium Parco della musica venue — the reason that the fest’s 2008 dates had been moved up, he said.

Rome’s new Oct. 22-31 slot is now four days later than its October 18-27 dates in 2007.

Bettini said top Venice brass had expressed “reasonable and civil concerns, which I personally understand and agree with.”

“I am glad we have found a mutually satisfactory solution,” he said.

But hostilities over Italy’s crowded fall fest calendar are far from over. The Turin Film Festival, headed by Nanni Moretti, is now on the warpath since Rome’s latest dates will narrow the gap with that indie-heavy event.

Turin’s 26th edition is skedded for Nov. 21-29, just 20 days removed from Rome.

“It’s just totally insane that we have three festivals in three months,” said Alberto Barbera, head of the Turin National Film Museum, which is affiliated with the Turin fest.

Meanwhile, Giancarlo Galan, governor of the Veneto region comprising the city of Venice, responded to Rome’s olive branch by saying it changes nothing in the ongoing Venice/Rome feud.

“It has no significance for us since the only thing we are waiting for is to see the cancellation of an event (Rome) intended solely to contrast with the Venice fest,” the notoriously cantankerous pol declared.

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