EXCLUSIVE: Eagle Rock Entertainment and American Masters Pictures are teaming for Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, the working title of a new feature-length documentary about the musical icon. Emmy winner Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders) is directing the pic and also producing via his Firelight Media.

Production is now underway, and the plan is to wrap the docu by year’s end for a festival bow and theatrical release sometime early next year. The film will then have its exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere on PBS’ American Masters, while in the UK the film will be air exclusively on BBC2.

Miles Davis
Bob Cato/Sony Music Archives

Davis is regarded as one of the most innovative, influential and respected figures in music. The producers have full access to the Miles Davis Estate and never-before-seen footage including outtakes from his recording sessions, rare photos, and interviews with the likes of Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Clive Davis, Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter.

Nelson, who has lifetime honors from the Peabodys, Emmys and the International Documentary Association, has amassed credits including the Emmy-winning docus The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution and Freedom Riders, and most recently directed Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.

“Miles was a man apart – in life, in love, in music – a singular artist who never looked back and who changed everything we thought we knew about jazz, about music, about life, several times over in his career,” Nelson said. “With this film, I hope to unpack the mythology that surrounds Mr. Davis and present a definitive account of the man behind the legend.”