The Rome Film Festival’s decision to shift its start date from mid-October to Oct. 2, contentiously close to the Venice Film Festival, is sparking molto mayhem in Italy’s film community.

Italo culture czar Francesco Rutelli has expressed his exasperation at the announcement made a few weeks ago by the deep-pocketed Eternal City extravaganza, the third edition of which is skedded for Oct. 2-12. Venice will unspool Aug. 27-Sept. 6.

“It’s wrong for these two high-profile events to be so close,” Rutelli said Saturday in Milan. “I would really appreciate it if Rome stopped stepping on Venice’s feet, even though there isn’t that much I can do.”

Meanwhile, the venerable Pordenone Silent Film Festival — skedded for Oct. 4-11 — is also on the warpath as the two fests will directly overlap.

Popular on Variety

Pordenone organizers Monday fired off an open letter to the press urging “institutional arbitration” to sort out Italy’s fall film fest pileup, basically asking Rutelli to intervene.

“If the law of the strongest will prevail, then we will inevitably be blacked-out in terms of TV, radio and press coverage by an event that easily has more media pull,” lamented the 27-year-old silent movie fest, which has a large international cinephile following.

There was no response from top brass at the Venice fest Monday.

New Venice Biennale topper Paolo Baratta has reportedly sent a peeved missive to Rome fest organizers asking for clarification.

Marco Mueller has declined to comment until he is reupped as Venice director, which should happen later this month.

Rome fest prexy Goffredo Bettini has said the date change is a one-off due to calendar contingencies related to the classical music season at the fest’s Auditorium Parco Della Musica venue.