This year's closing night film for the New York Film Festival will be actor Don Cheadle's directorial debut about an American legend—musician Miles Davis. In addition to directing the film, titled Miles Ahead, Cheadle co-wrote and stars in it.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced the selection of Miles Ahead today, with New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones explaining, "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," Jones said.
Cheadle said, "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."
Here's this description of the biopic from the Film Society:
Miles Davis was one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. And how do you make a movie about him? 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 Frances Taylor (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. With Ewan McGregor as Dave Brill, the “reporter” who cons his way into Miles’ apartment. The film was produced by Don Cheadle, Pamela Hirsch, Lenore Zerman. Along with Daniel Wagner, Robert Barnum, Vince Willburn and Daryl Porter.
FYI: Apparently Cheadle used Cincinnati (!) to sub in as New York.
The Film Society previously announced that The Walk, a Robert Zemeckis-directed film about Philippe Petit's infamous walk between the Twin Towers, would be the opening night film. And last year's NYFF closing night film was Birdman or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance which ended up winning the Oscar for Best Picture.
The New York Film Festival begins on September 25th and runs through October 11th.