In a sign of solidarity to the US for last week's terrorist attacks, Mifed has announced the cancellation of a gala evening which had been arranged to showcase Italian cinema during the market. Instead, organisers said the (undisclosed) budget which had been allocated for the event will be given to a charity linked to the US attacks.

While a recent hike in registration costs had already caused some industry executives to warn that they may choose not to attend the market, Mifed is now attempting to curb a new potential cause for non-attendance: fears about security. As such, organisers emphasised that Rassegne, Mifed's private operator, will step up security in the sprawling Fiera complex which houses the market and are currently discussing specific measures.

"The organisers of Mifed ['] would like to express its sorrow to the American people and to everyone in the world for the recent events. ['], Mifed would like to reassure its international participants that during the market every effort will be made to guarantee safety and tranquillity for everyone attending," Mifed said in the statement.

Mifed's Elena Lloyd said that so far only one US client - who had not booked office space - had sent a fax to cancel attendance at the market following the September 11th attacks. However, since Mifed clients have until September 28th to cancel and recover registration costs except for deposits, Lloyd said she expected the majority of clients to confirm attendance - or cancel - next week.

Lloyd said it is still too soon to gauge final attendance figures, but confirmed that she expected potential cancellations - and the travel plans of US film executives - to hinge on how worldwide events develop in coming days.

In a weird twist, Lloyd also said she had received seven separate faxes and phone calls from major US clients asking whether rumours that the Milan market was moving to Cannes were true. Lloyd insisted that such a rumour, wherever it had originated from, was ridiculous, and that no plans had, or would, be made to move the market elsewhere.

Mifed will be held from October 28th to November 1st.