Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Will World Premiere as the Closing Night Film at the 53rd New York Film Festival
Photo Credit: S & A

Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Will World Premiere as the Closing Night Film at the 53rd New York Film Festival

Miles Ahead Don CheadleThis is good news!

The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that Don Cheadle’s directorial debut "Miles Ahead," will make its World Premiere as the Closing Night film at the upcoming 53rd New York Film Festival (September 25 – October 11).

Right in my backyard, so you know that I’ll definitely be present for this one, after much anticipation.

Cheadle’s unconventional bio, for which he finally raised the funds needed for completion last year (after many years in limbo) wrapped principal photography last August (2014). I actually thought that it might premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, but it didn’t. I then expected that it would very likely premiere, still on the film festival circuit, at Toronto or New York in the fall. The latter it is!

The story follows Miles Davis (played by Cheadle), after his record label steals his comeback album before he’s ready for it to be heard, as he hunts it down with the help of a music journalist (played by Ewan McGregor).  

If you haven’t yet read our interview with Don Cheadle about the project, you should. He fills in several blanks that you’ll appreciate, if it’s a film you’re excited about. Read it here.

Cheadle is producing the film through his Crescendo Productions banner, along with Bifrost’s Daniel Wagner, and Robert Ogden Barnum. Also producing are Darryl Porter and Vince Wilburn on behalf of the Davis estate, Lenore Zerman and Pam Hirsch.

Emayatzy Corinealdi (as Frances Taylor) and Keith Stanfield also co-star.

New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said: “I admire Don’s film because of all the intelligent decisions he’s made about how to deal with Miles, but I was moved—deeply moved—by Miles Ahead for other reasons. Don knows, as an actor, a writer, a director, and a lover of Miles’ music, that intelligent decisions and well-planned strategies only get you so far, that finally it’s your own commitment and attention to every moment and every detail that brings a movie to life. ‘There is no longer much else but ourselves, in the place given us,’ wrote the poet Robert Creeley. ‘To make that present, and actual … is not an embarrassment, but love.’ That’s the core of art. Miles Davis knew it, and Don Cheadle knows it.”

Don Cheadle added: “I am happy that the selection committee saw fit to invite us to the dance. It’s very gratifying that all the hard work that went into the making of this film, from every person on the team, has brought us here. Miles’ music is all-encompassing, forward-leaning, and expansive. He changed the game time after time, and New York is really where it all took off for him. Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center… feels very ‘right place, right time.’ Very exciting.”

The festival had this to say about the film: "You get to know the man inside and out and then you reveal him in full, which is exactly what Don Cheadle does as a director, a writer, and an actor with this remarkable portrait of Davis, refracted through his crazy days in the late-70s. Holed up in his Manhattan apartment, wracked with pain from a variety of ailments and fiending for the next check from his record company, dodging sycophants and industry executives, he is haunted by memories of old glories and humiliations and of his years with his great love (Emayatzy Corinealdi). Every second of Cheadle’s cinematic mosaic is passionately engaged with its subject: this is, truly, one of the finest films ever made about the life of an artist."

The 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring top films from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FSLC Director of Programming; Marian Masone, FSLC Senior Programming Advisor; Gavin Smith, Editor-in-Chief, Film Comment; and Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Film Comment and Sight & Sound.
NYFF previously announced Robert Zemeckis’s "The Walk" as the Opening Night selection and "Luminous Intimacy: The Cinema of Nathaniel Dorsky and Jerome Hiler," the first-ever complete dual retrospective of the experimental filmmakers.
Tickets for the 53rd New York Film Festival will go on sale in early September. To find out how to become a Film Society member, visit

Now we wait for the first trailer.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

© 2023 Shadow & Act. All rights reserved.