The fourth edition of the Rome International Film Festival in 2009 will open a week earlier than this year - bringing it even closer to its Venice rival.

The news comes before the third edition of the International Rome Film Festival officially kicks off (October 22-31).

While the dates for the 2009 edition were not officially confirmed by organisers itself, the Business Street industry event that runs concurrently with the festival has has announced that it will run from October 15-19 for the 2009 edition.

Additionally, individuals close to the festival said that Rome's dates are likely to
stick to a mid October window - give or take a few days.

The date change means that Rome and Venice will be smashed up against each other more than ever before with merely a month between, particularly as Venice has made clear that they will start their 2009 edition September 2 - a full week later.

Last year Rome's second edition did cause some uproar for its close proximity to Venice and overlapping with the London Film Festival.

Since Rome's 2006 debut, the date issue has been a hot topic. Turin, Italy's 25-year-old event pushed its time slot to a later date in November to create space.

This September the Biennale arts organisation (which oversees the Venice Film Festival) said that Venice would start later to begin September 2, 2009 sparked some controversy around the Toronto Film Festival.

At that time Marco Mueller told Screen International the shift to the first Wednesday in September would be a permanent one.

This means that in future years that Venice and Toronto will potentially overlap almost entirely.