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Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool

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©Firelight Films, Inc.


A visionary, innovator and originator who defied categorization and embodied the word cool: a foray into the life and career of musical and cultural icon Miles Davis.
Using words from Miles Davis' autobiography, this film offers an incisive insight into our understanding of the legendary musician. Newly released archival material, alongside interviews with pre-eminent historians and personal friends like Quincy Jones, illustrate a man of intensity and devotion to his craft. Despite the indignities of America during the time of segregation, nothing was going to stop Davis from realising his dream: to create a new form of musical expression. Davis worked like a physicist with his collaborators to push musical experimentation and widen the tones and lyricism of jazz - the effects of which are felt to this day.
Delving into his past loves, personal relationships and addictions, a clearer portrait of Davis the man emerges. Davis is fearless and engaging throughout, and his intellectual fervor is only tempered by his insecurities. Director Stanley Nelson’s epic biopic collects the strands of a creative life and weaves them together for us to understand one of the great modern American artists like never before.
Official Selection Sundance Film Festival 2019 - Documentary Premieres - World premiere
Official Selection Hot Docs 2019 - Special Presentations
Official Selection BFI London Film Festival 2019 - Create Strand


Type of film
Running Time
113 min
Stanley Nelson
Nicole London, Stanley Nelson
Executive Producer
Terry Shand, Geoff Kempin, Michael Kantor
Lewis Erskine; Assistant Editor: Yusuf Kapadia
©Firelight Films, Inc.

Production status


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Last updated 12th September 2019

Production Company

US, UK co-production

Firelight Films, Inc. (US) production with support of Eagle Rock Film Productions (UK)

Eagle Rock Film Productions
c/o Eagle Rock Entertainment
Eagle House
22 Armoury Way
SW18 1EZ
+44 (0)20 8870 5670 / +44 (0)20 8875 8791 (ext. 510)