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SARS Scares Off Trade Show Attendees To Toronto

The World Health Organization's warning urging travelers to avoid unnecessary visits to Toronto because of the risk of contracting the SARS virus is having some adverse effects upon trade shows there. The Canadian Cable Television Assn. postponed its annual convention, which was to take place April 27-29, 2003. However, the SPROCKETS Toronto International Film Festival is still underway April 24-May 4, 2003. Publicity coordinator Susan Stafford reports general attendance is not down but the industry side was effected. "We have had a few calls from out-of-town visiting industry guests who are managing local travel restrictions and will not be able to join us. Sprockets events are very full and we are looking forward to another great festival for all the children and their families who love cinema," she said. SPROCKETS did have to cancel its Animation Master Class with Loyd Price from Aardman Animations.

Business is usual for Toronto-based DECODE Entertainment. "Everyone is in the office and the city is functioning," according to Jacqueline Nuwame, director of communications for DECODE. "The hype in foreign media bears very little resemblance to the reality." Government officials have rushed to assuage mounting fears that could disrupt Toronto's film production business. "The general population is not at risk. Toronto remains a safe filming destination," Toronto film and TV commissioner Rhonda Silverstone said to THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Silverstone has been fielding calls from concerned producers. About 20 film and TV projects are shooting in Toronto, according to the Ontario Media Development Corp.