Almost 2 years after its successful crowdfunding campaign, Miles Ahead, the story of the late Miles Davis, is about to be released in the UK. The film tells the story of the multiple Grammy award winning jazz musician and is named after his 1957 album.
The film has been in development since 2008 but an Indiegogo campaign was set up in June 2014 with a goal of $325,000, which was exceeded by almost $20,000. Renowned actor Don Cheadle takes the lead in many aspects – as director, actor (as Miles Davis), part producer and co-writer alongside Steven Baigelman. The cast also includes Ewan McGregor, Michael Stuhlbarg and Austin Lyon. Cheadle has been passionate about Davis’ music from a very young age, but playing the jazz legend was not something he had considered until he was suggested for the part.
Cheadle joined the list of successful actors such as Spike Lee and Zach Braff who turned to crowdfunding platforms to finance their films. Why Cheadle turned to crowdfunding is a question you may be asking and from his crowdfunding campaign, he stated that Miles’ played everything from show tunes to acid rock and preferred to have his work defined as “social music” rather than just jazz. Therefore, Cheadle thought it would be perfect for the film to be a “social experience” and therefore he turned to Indiegogo.
The film was also being produced independently, through Crescendo Productions, Cheadle’s Production Company. The money was needed to make the movie everything that they had envisioned it to be and according to Cheadle (in his crowdfunding campaign pitch), if they were seeking an alternative means besides crowdfunding they would have to “cut out scenes or characters that we feel really need to be in the movie.” Even though Cheadle personally added in his own funds to finance the movie, the extra money was to be used to “recreate the multiple time periods we’re dealing with and with the logistics of incorporating all the music” – according to their initial crowdfunding campaign.
Cheadle decided to focus on the mid 1970’s, when Davis returned to recording and performing music after a long battle with drug addiction. “I wanted this movie to be about creativity, as opposed to being instructional about any of those dates in his life or somehow trying to diagram genius or diagram this gift… I wanted it to feel like a piece of music and something that was like a Miles Davis experience as opposed to an instruction manual about Miles Davis’ life,” said Cheadle in an interview with Screen Rant. Miles Ahead hits UK cinemas on April 22.