The film, written by Zhang and Zou Jingzhi and starring Wei Fan and Xiaochuan Li, is adapted from a novel about a man who escapes a labor camp for a glimpse of his daughter. Zhang had called “One Second,” set during China’s 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, his personal tribute to cinema. 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 yanked from competition at the 69th Berlin International Film Festival due to “technical reasons,” though many speculated its removal from the lineup was politically motivated.
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 latest films include the historical spy thriller “Cliff Walkers” and “Impasse” with Zhang Yi.
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“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 Film Festival, 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 includes 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.