Armando Iannucci’s ‘The Death of Stalin’ to Open Toronto Film Festival’s Platform Section

The film from the creator of “Veep” will join works from Mike White, Clio Barnard and Warwick Thornton

Last Updated: August 3, 2017 @ 10:52 AM

“Veep” creator Armando Iannucci’s “The Death of Stalin” will open the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival’s Platform section, TIFF organizers announced on Thursday.

The film, which stars Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin and Andrea Riseborough and is set in the days around the Soviet dictator’s death in 1953, will be joined by a lineup of 11 other films, most from celebrated international auteurs.

Those films include Michael Pearce’s “Beast,” starring Johnny Flynn; Mike White’s “Brad’s Status,” which stars Ben Stiller and Jenna Fischer and is the only American film in the section; Clio Barnard’s “Dark River,” with Ruth Wilson and Sean Bean; Nabil Ayouch’s “Razzia,” from the French-Moroccan director of “Mektoub” and “Whatever Lola Wants”; and Warwick Thornton’s “Sweet Country,” a period western starring Sam Neill and Bryan Brown that will close the Platform section.

“Platform is the place to look for the distinct stamp of today’s most interesting directors as they establish their reputations,” TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey said in a statement. The dozen films in the section will be eligible for a $25,000 prize from a jury consisting of directors Chen Kaige (“Farewell, My Concubine”), Malgorzata Szumowska (“33 Scenes From Life”) and Wim Wenders (“Paris, Texas”).

This is the third year for TIFF’s Platform section. Last year’s films in the section included Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning “Moonlight,” Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie” and William Oldroyd’s “Lady Macbeth.”

The Toronto International Film Festival will kick off on September 7 with the world premiere of “Borg/McEnroe,” and will run through September 17. Other films booked include George Clooney’s “Suburbicon,” Alexander Payne’s “Downsizing,” Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water” and Morgan Spurlock’s “Super-Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!”

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The Platform program:

“Beast,” Michael Pearce, United Kingdom
“Brad’s Status,” Mike White, USA
“Custody,” Xavier Legrand, France
“Dark River,” Clio Barnard, United Kingdom
“The Death of Stalin,” Armando Iannucci, United Kingdom/France/Belgium (opening film)
“Euphoria,” Lisa Langseth, Sweden/Germany
“If You Saw His Heart,” Joan Chemla, France
“Mademoiselle Paradis,” Barbara Albert, Austria/Germany
“Razzia,” Nabil Ayouch, France
“The Seen and Unseen,” Kamila Andini, Indonesia
“Sweet Country,” Warwick Thornton, Australia (closing film)
“What Will People Say” (“Hva vil folk si”), Iram Haq, Norway/Germany/Sweden

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