Under the novel system unveiled on Monday, festival goers at the October 16th-25th cinema fest will receive tickets with a code enabling them to vote online for the five main prizes, previously handed out by a committee of industry insiders who had to be fed, watered and lodged over the course of the festival, at considerable expense.
With all forms of public spending under review in cash-strapped Italy, the organisers had no option but to find savings.
"The essential is that the festival goes on and is self-financing for half its budget," said Lamberto Mancini, the director general of organising body, Cinema per Roma.
The annual festival, now in its ninth year, will this year host 51 feature length films from 21 countries, 24 of them making their international premiere.
Among the stars expected to attend are Clive Owen, the British actor who will present Steven Soderbergh's 10-part TV mini-series about a New York hospital, "The Knick", and Kevin Costner, who stars in Mike Binder's "Black and White".
The only 'professional' jury at the festival will be tasked with selecting the winner of the award for best first work and will be chaired by US filmmaker Jonathan Nossiter, best known for the documentary "Mondovino".