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Sony Pictures Classics Adds Don Cheadle’s ‘Miles Ahead’ to Its 2016 Slate

Sony Pictures Classics Adds Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' to Its 2016 Slate

Sony Pictures Classics stepped up to acquire as many available territories as possible–a priority for seller UTA–including North America for Don Cheadle’s directorial debut “Miles Ahead.” The biopic will world premiere on closing night of the upcoming NYFF (September 25 – October 11). Cheadle stars as legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, during his crazy Manhattan days in the late-70s, opposite Emayatzy Corinealdi as his great love Frances Taylor and Ewan McGregor as Dave Brill, a Rolling Stone reporter who cons his way into Miles’ apartment. 
SPC co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard have such a healthy awards slate for 2015 that they will not add this one to their awards docket, preferring to wait until 2016, when one-time Best Actor nominee Cheadle (“Hotel Rwanda”) could be a strong acting contender. On the foreign side, always a strong suit for SPC, are Cannes award-winner “Son of Saul,” the official Oscar submission from Hungary, as well as not-yet-selected hopefuls from Japan (“Little Sister”) and Germany (“Labyrinth of Lies”). 

Of its many features, SPC will promote James Vanderbilt’s journalism expose “Truth” (October 16), a showcase for Cate Blanchett as Mary Mapes, with Robert Redford in a supporting role as Dan Rather. Brit star Tom Hiddleston improbably plays country star Hank Williams in Marc Abraham’s “I Saw the Light” (November 27), opposite Elizabeth Olsen, who also shows off her pipes. Lily Tomlin will factor in the Golden Globe comedy derby for Sundance debuting summer release “Grandma,” and critics may push Marielle Heller’s Sundance breakout “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” into contention, which opens August 7. 

Written by Steven Baigelman and Cheadle, “Miles Ahead” also stars Michael Stuhlbarg and Keith Stanfield.  Don Cheadle, Lenore Zerman, Pamela Hirsch, Daniel Wagner, Robert Ogden Barnum, Darryl Porter and Vince Wilburn, Jr. produced the film.  Mark Amin, Baigelman, Jonathan Gardner and Brian Pope executive produced.  Davis’ son, Erin Davis, and daughter, Cheryl Davis, are also executive producers, and the film was made with the participation of The Miles Davis Estate.  The film was financed by BiFrost Pictures. 
“Miles was many things…a supreme artist and a national treasure but also an enigma to those around him, especially during his so-called quiet period,” said Cheadle.  “With the family’s blessing and Miles’ tenets on creativity as our guide, we used these cloistered years as a jumping off point to compose the story of a self-exiled artist creating his own ‘centrifugal adventure’ to spin himself back into playing music again.  And now I’m delighted that we’ve found the perfect partners in Michael, Tom and the SPC team to take this journey with us.”
“What Don Cheadle has done here with the spirit of Miles Davis is truly astounding.  We are not only witnessing for the first time this part of Miles Davis’ story as it deserves to be told, but also the birth of a major film director who happens to portray the iconic musician in a jaw dropping performance.  This movie will be embraced by audiences everywhere and we are so pleased to help make that happen,” stated Sony Pictures Classics.
UTA Independent Film Group arranged the film’s financing and screened it for buyers ahead of the NYFF, representing the filmmakers in the deal. (IM Global handled pre-sales in multiple territories, which include Portugal, Switzerland, UK, Ex-Yugoslavia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Israel and Middle East.)

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