Media Asia has chosen to stay at home but several other Hong Kong sellers and buyers have made the trip to Cannes as the SARS crisis in the territory appears to be diminishing.

Among the Hong Kong sellers who can be found either on the Croisette or in the Riviera are Celestial Pictures, Fortissimo Film Sales, Golden Network Asia, Han Entertainment and Golden Sun. In addition, China Star Entertainment, Universe Films Distribution and Mandarin Films have taken booths as usual in the Hong Kong Pavilion. Mei Ah Entertainment is also attending but hasn't taken a booth.

"Cannes is important for us so we've taken every precaution to ensure our staff is in good health and not putting anyone at risk," says Han general manager, distribution, Sabrina Chen.

Most Hong Kong buyers have also decided to attend including Golden Scene, Edko Films, Intercontinental Films Distributors, Golden Harvest, Delon, Deltamac and Lark Films Distribution.

Following advice from the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC), most Hong Kong delegates have obtained a health certificate from a government-approved doctor before setting out for Cannes.

However, several companies decided weeks ago not to attend due to uncertainty over how the SARS crisis would develop. Apart from Media Asia, absentees include Fortune Star, Emperor Multimedia Group and Filmko Pictures. "Don't cry for us Cannes," said Media Asia in a newsletter to buyers. "Although we cannot sip champagne with you physically, we are ever so ready to celebrate new deals via email or phone."