Toronto Adds Ben Stiller's 'Brad's Status,' Armando Iannucci's 'Death of Stalin'

Courtesy of Amazon Studios
'Brad's Status'

The Platform competition unveiled 11 auteur contenders, including Warwick Thornton's 'Sweet Country' and Clio Barnard's 'Dark River.'

Mike White's Brad's Status, starring Ben Stiller, and The Death of Stalin, from Veep creator Armando Iannucci, will compete in the Platform juried competition at next month's Toronto International Film Festival, organizers said Thursday.

Iannucci's second feature — based on a graphic novel and starring Jeffrey Tambor, Steve Buscemi, Michael Palin, Olga Kurylenko and Homeland star Rupert Friend — will open the Platform sidebar. In all, 11 indie titles will vie for a $25,000 first prize. The winner to be chosen by a jury that comprises directors Wim Wenders, Malgorzata Szumowska and Palme d'Or winner Chen Kaige.

The Platform lineup also includes Brad's Status, a comedy from Amazon Studios, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment that stars Stiller alongside Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer and Luke Wilson. Annapurna Pictures and Amazon Studios will jointly release the comedy domestically on Sept. 15.

The 2017 edition will also give world bows to two U.K. films, Michael Pearce's Beast and Clio Barnard's Dark River, led by The Affair star Ruth Wilson; and three films from France: Xavier Legrand's Custody, headed to Toronto after competing in Venice, Joan Chemla's If You Saw His Heart and Morrocan filmmaker Nabil Ayouch's Razzia, which revisits the 1942 classic Casablanca.

TIFF launched the Platform competition two years ago to spotlight foreign-language titles coming into the September event without distribution or Hollywood studio backing. The 2017 edition will also debut Iram Haq's What Will People Say, Kamila Andini's The Seen and Unseen, Lisa Langseth's Euphoria and Barbara Albert's Mademoiselle Paradis, an 18th century drama that stars Maria-Victoria Dragus in the true story of a gifted piano player who knew Mozart in Vienna.

Platform in part aims to get Toronto back to its roots as an international film festival with the glitz and glamor of Hollywood stars, but also a renewed focus on foreign-language, auteur-driven titles. This year's competition will close with Australian filmmaker Warwick Thornton's Sweet Country, which gets a North American bow here after first competing in Venice. Last year's Platform competition included the Oscar best-picture winner Moonlight from director Barry Jenkins and Natalie Portman's Jackie biopic.

Offering the Platform competition along with its long-standing People's Choice audience awards comes as Toronto increasingly competes with the Telluride and Venice festivals for the latest work by international filmmakers. The 2017 Toronto International Film Festival kicks off Sept. 7 with the Shia LaBeouf-starrer Borg/McEnroe, and closes Sept. 17 with C’est la vie!, by directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano.