Neon Buys U.S. Rights to Chinese Director Zhang Yimou’s ‘One Second’

Ahead of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Neon has nabbed North American rights to Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s “One Second.”

The film, written by Zhang and Zou Jingzhi, is adapted from a novel about a man who escapes a labour camp for a glimpse of his daughter. It’s scheduled as TIFF’s closing night film.

“One Second” debuted last November in China, where it grossed $12 million at the box office. The film arrived on the big screen after being plagued by censorship problems. It was supposed to compete at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival but it was yanked from the lineup shortly before the screening for “technical reasons.”

The Academy Award nominated Zhang, one of China’s most recognizable filmmakers, is known for “Raise the Red Lantern” and “Hero.” He recently wrapped production on the crime drama “Under the Light.” His recent films include the historical spy thriller “Cliff Walkers” and “Impasse” with Zhang Yi.

“One Second” joins Celine Sciamma’s “Petite Maman” as the second Neon release to play at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Neon, the company that distributed the Oscar-winning “Parasite” in the U.S. and Canada, has been on a hot streak on the festival circuit. It recently debuted three titles at Cannes, including the Palme d’Or winner “Titane” from director Julia Ducournau. Neon also premiered Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s “Memoria” starring Tilda Swinton, which tied for the Jury Prize, and the anthology feature “The Year of the Everlasting Storm.” Out of Cannes, the company acquired “The Worst Person in the World” and “A Chiara.”

Neon’s upcoming slate also include Jamila Wignot’s “Ailey,” Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s “Flee” and Pablo Larrain’s “Spencer” starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana.

Jeff Deutchman negotiated the deal for Neon with Eva Diederix of Wild Bunch. Wild Bunch is handling international sales. “One Second” is a Huanxi Media Group Production and was produced by William Kong, Ping Dong, Liwei Pang and Shaokun Xian.

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