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Don Cheadle Turns to Crowdfunding for Miles Davis Movie

Don Cheadle has become the latest filmmaker to launch a crowdfunding campaign, seeking to raise $325,000 to support his Miles Davis biopic “Miles Ahead.”

Kristen Bell, Zach Braff and Spike Lee have all used Kickstarter campaigns to raise funds for their films, with Bell’s “Veronica Mars” setting a record at $5.7 million in donations.

“Most studios don’t make these kinds of movies anymore, so we are doing it independently,” Cheadle said. “I’m personally putting a big chunk of money into our budget as well as putting all my fees back in. But the extra money we hope to raise on Indiegogo will help us recreate the multiple time periods we’re dealing with and with the logistics of incorporating all the music.”

“Miles Ahead” marks Cheadle’s directorial debut. It had been called “Kill the Trumpet Player” when it was being sold to international territories at the American Film Market last year.

The Indiegogo campaign raised $11,535 — or 4% of its goal — as of 3 p.m. Wednesday with a July 10 deadline. Premiums offered include an array of posters, limited edition Miles Davis artwork, a coffee table book of Miles’ artwork signed by Don Cheadle, set visits and screenings. The top incentive is a $15,000 package that includes a visit to the Cincinnati set and an associate producer credit.

Ewan McGregor has also been cast to co-star.

“We are eager to get the word out about our film and to build a community of people who are just as excited as we are about a Miles Davis movie,” said Cheadle. “While Miles used his horn to communicate and create ‘social music’ we are using social media and today’s online platforms to reach out to the music community, the film community and all people who are excited to see an explosive, cool music-filled movie.

Cheadle is producing through his Crescendo Productions 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.

The story appears to be set in the early 1980s when Davis emerged back on the music scene after having been absent from music for about six years. Davis died in 1991 at the age of 65.

Cheadle told Variety last year that he first heard about the project in 2006 when Davis was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“Vince Wilburn announced I was going to play Miles, and it was the first I’d heard of it,” he recalled.

Cheadle can currently be seen starring in Showtime’s “House of Lies.”

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