The International Rome Film Festival has announced that public funding for its budget will be cut from $8.1 (Euros 5.8 mil) to $5.6 (Euros 4 mil) for the 2009 edition.

The cuts come from the festival's founding committee, which has cited the global economic crisis as the reason.

Earlier the committee had announced that the festival's budget would be capped at $14 million (Euros 10 m) for 2009.

Rome 's Mayor Gianni Alemanno later backtracked on that figure, saying that while local institutions would cap their contribution at $5.6 million, 'the $14 million cap which includes the private sponsors is not to be considered a strict limit.'

The festival's budget is now expected to fall between $14 mil - $18 mil (Euros 10-13 million) on a par with its first edition but lower than its second and third editions.

If Rome does cap its budget, its operating costs would fall below those of the Venice film festival, which operates on a budget of around $16 million (Euros 12m), for the first time.

The date for the festival's 2009 edition will be October 15-23 and the 2010 and 2011 editions will run from October 29-November 6 and October 28 - November 8 respectively.

The festival is also expected to make announcements on who will replace co-artistic directors Giorgio Gosetti and Teresa Cavina who left after the third edition due to internal changes in the festival hierarchy.

Meanwhile Rome's critic's prizewinner Opium War, by Siddiq Barmak will have Italian distribution via Iguana Films, the festival announced today.