SARS jars pic fests

Filmart may be delayed because of epidemic

HONG KONG — The growing outbreak of the deadly pneumonia-like SARS is continuing to threaten Hong Kong’s key film events.

The organizers of Filmart, the Hong Kong Intl. Film and TV Market, are mulling whether to postpone the June 25-27 event.

A representative for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, which organizes Filmart, said a decision would be made after Easter.

The Hong Kong-Asia Film Financing Forum and Hong Kong-Asia Screenings, originally scheduled for April 7-9, were called off after a number of foreign delegates canceled.

As of Wednesday, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome had affected 2,722 people and caused 106 deaths in 18 countries. Among the affected cases, 970 are in Hong Kong, with 27 deaths to date.

Although theories abound about how the illness is transmitted, there is still too little information for some people to be comfortable traveling to affected areas.

Travel advisory

The World Health Organization has advised that all non-essential travel to Hong Kong and adjacent Guangdong province in China be put on hold.

Other big events in Hong Kong have been canceled including concerts by the Rolling Stones, Santana and Moby.

Film events that are less dependent on overseas guests, such as the Hong Kong Film Awards on Sunday and the Hong Kong Intl. Film Festival, which kicked off on Tuesday, have carried on as planned.

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