'For industry folk it is irritating and inconvenient,' London's artistic director Sandra Hebron commented. She acknowledged that the Rome event is constrained by 'local politics and venue availability' but said that Rome's choice of dates was 'a fairly aggressive act.'
'It's very unfortunate,' the Rome Film Fest's Teresa Cavina commented of the clash in dates between the two cities' festivals.
The new London co-production event, which will be announced formally in Berlin on Tuesday evening, is expected to take place after Rome's industry bazaar Business Street, running October 18-21. Nonetheless, it is clear that the two festivals will be competing to attract buyers and sellers.
Rome's organisers kept Hebron informed of their plans but she denied that there had been any consultation as such. 'It's a bit unfortunate that people responsible for the artistic direction (of Rome) are as powerless over dates as they appear. London is in a strong position as a centre for production and for the industry. It has a significance that Rome doesn't have. I think for (industry) people who want to work around the festival, being in London is more helpful than being in Rome,' Hebron said.
Rome and London aren't the only cities jostling for position in the late autumn calendar. The Tokyo Film Festival runs from 20th-28th October. It, too, is running a co-production event - the Asia-Pacific Entertainment Market - but the Japanese seem more sanguine about the clash in dates.
'We're not really concerned about the overlap in dates becausae Tokyo has a focus on Asian films while Rome is European,' said Keiji Hamano of Tokyo's market, Tiffcom.
Last year, Rome and London overlapped for a few days. 'It didn't affect us despite the very large cheque book that Rome has,' Hebron commented.