Organisers of the new Rome Film Festival have unveiled an ambitious international programme with a $10m budget.

Officially called "Cinema Festa Internazionale di Roma", the event is pushing itself as a high-profile international event for the public, rather thanthe industry - like the London or Tribeca festivals.

The Roman challenge was the subject of heated discussion at this year's Venice, where many predicted a concerted challenge from the newcomer.Venice and Rome organisers have been at pains to - officially - underline that there should be no competition between the two events.

Indeed, stressing the contrast with Venice, Rome has announced it will have no press conferences or press screenings.

However, there are unequivocal similarities between the Lidoand the Roman event, which takes place between October 13-21, 2006.

Rome will have a budget of $10.5m (Euros 9m)- around the same as Venice.

The capital's festival will also have "an area for film professionals,"and there has even been tentative talk of Rome eventually replacing MIFED as an autumnmarketplace for European product.

Venice mayor Massimo Cacciari has pointed out that both festivals will be competing for premieres.

During the Venice Film Festival, he said that unlessthe Lido builds new infrastructure soon, it "won't be able to compete withRome."Still, tempers should be soothed by Rome organizers' fresh announcement that unlike Venice, the capital's festival will not receive state funds.

Instead,it will receive Euros 3m from the city of Rome and the Lazio regionalgovernment.

The Chamber of Commerce will provide Euros 2.5m and the remainingEuros 3.5m will be funded by private sponsors and through ticket sales.

Thefestival will be hosted in Rome's Auditorium, a sprawling modern complex designedby architect Renzo Piano. Some events will also take place in other partsof the city.

The Rome programme will feature 80 films divided into five sections.

The competition section will screen 14 premieres from upcoming directors. The top prize will be awarded by a jury made up of members of the publicbut headed by a film industry professional.

ThePremiere section will screen 9 European premieres, and will host the equivalentnumber of gala evenings.

Anothersection, entitled Il Lavoro dell'attore (literally, the work of theactor) will pay tribute to a major living actor.

A fourth section, calledCinema Etcetera will be dedicated to "spectacular" international films.

Thefifth section, called Alice nella Citta' (literally, Alice in the City),will focus on kids films and will host events for children.

Rome'scommittee includes Goffredo Bettini, who is the director of the Auditorium,festival general director Giorgio Gosetti - who is also head of Venice'sDirectors' Fortnight - and critic Mario Sesti. Maria Teresa Cavina will handle the international selection.

Piera Detassis, the editor of Ciak Magazine, will be responsible for majorpremieres and Gianluca Giannelli willhandle the children's section.