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Neon Boards Toronto Closer ‘One Second’; Chinese Pic Resurfaces 30 Months After Cancelled Berlin Premiere

Neon has taken North American rights to Chinese Director Zhang Yimou’s One Second, which was just announced as the closing night film for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.

Described by the filmmaker as his “love letter to cinema”, the pic, based on the novel by Yan Geling, stars Zhang Yi, Liu Haocun, and Fan Wei in the story of a rural Chinese village coming together to restore a destroyed film reel.

The film has had a bumpy journey to its North American premiere. The pic was originally scheduled to premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival back in 2019 but was pulled at the last second, with “technical reasons” cited.

Speculation suggested that the film was actually pulled on request by Chinese authorities. It then went through re-shoots before it was eventually cleared for release in China in November last year, grossing $10M, a disappointing result for a high-profile movie that was expected to have a real shot at international recognition. Neon is now betting that might happen after all, some 30 months after that cancelled premiere.

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 is produced by William Kong, Ping Dong, Liwei Pang and Shaokun Xian.

Neon also has Celine Sciamma’s Petite Maman at the festival this year. Read about today’s line-up announcement here.

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