The 4th Sydney Asia Pacific Film Festival, scheduled for August, has been postponed until next year because SARS and other international uncertainties prevented organisers from travelling widely and accessing films.

"As a principal focus of the festival this year was to be Hong Kong, the SARS situation made it doubly difficult," said chair and co-director Paul de Carvalho.

The festival is the only one in Australia dedicated to Asian film, although Asian product is usually well represented in the major festivals, especially Melbourne and Brisbane.

Organisers say they will continue to promote the best in Asian film through partnerships with various sponsors and local distributors. They were involved in preview screenings of the Korean film The Way Home and the Chinese film Balzac And The Little Chinese Seamstress, for example, and are part of this month's gala screening of Springtime In A Small Town, to be attended by China's Tian Zhuangzhuang.

"With extra resources and time for programming, business development and marketing, the end result will be a stronger and more vibrant Sydney Asia Pacific Film Festival in 2004."