Rome film festival to be reduced

Scaled down version features less films and returns to October slot

The ninth edition of the Rome Film Festival, which will take place from 16-25 October at the Auditorium Parco della Musica, will be a slimmed-down version compared to previous years, according to its artistic director Marco Müller.

The most significant changes will see most of the prizes being awarded based on audience votes, not an international jury, while the festival's focus will move towards the work of "emerging" directors.

Another key change is the festival returning to its original October schedule after it was moved to November two years ago on the arrival of Müller, now in the third and final year of his contract as artistic director. The controversial move had been designed to act as a potential launch pad for winter release movies angling for Oscar nominations as well as an opportunity to draw more attention to the festival’s Business Street film market which this year will include spotlights on Brazil, Argentina and China.

It was also moved to November so that it would not clash with the much bigger London Film Festival. Moving it back to October means that Rome (16-25 October) will now start before London ends (8-19 October). However it will now leave plenty of space between the three important Italian film festivals; Venice from 27 August-6 September and Turin from 21-29 November.

The 2014 Rome festival will screen fewer movies than the 71 in last November's programme: this year it will show 40 feature films in a new set of competitive sections which comprise Cinema d’Oggi featuring both emerging and well-established directors; Gala for more popular mainstream movies; Mondo Genre including a mixture of genre films; and Prospettive Italia showing new trends in Italian films and documentaries. Returning to the festival are the independent Alice nella Città side-bar event for youth-oriented films; the Lifetime Achievement Award; and the Maverick Director Award.