"A captivating sound poem."

The New York Times

"An elegant and patient portrait of [Milford] Graves."


"As much a visual poem as it is a documentary."

Downbeat Magazine

"A sonic-visual ode to the ineffable magic of inspired and gracious living."

Thurston Moore

"A kaleidoscopic portrait of the drummer’s belief in the cosmic potential of music"

Little White Lies

"The work of someone who somehow arrived at a mature understanding of how to transcend the limitations of the biographical musical documentary genre, who realized seemingly intuitively that you can tell the story of a person's life, or you can use that life to tell a story, in sound and pictures, not in words."

William Horberg, Producer (Cold Mountain, The Kite Runner)

"One of the best jazz documentaries ever assembled... a singular viewing experience."

Byron Coley, The Wire : Adventures In Modern Music

"Rhythmically right on."

Rolling Stone

"This is filmmaking that helps remind us of the profundity of our most basic senses, and the rhythm that guides and glides with them."

Matt Krefting

"Like Graves's music, the film is uncompromisingly original in form, but it teaches us to watch and enjoy it."

Pooja Rangan, author, Immediations: The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary

MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS is the first ever feature-length portrait of renowned percussionist Milford Graves, exploring his kaleidoscopic creativity and relentless curiosity.

Graves has performed internationally since 1964, both as a soloist and in ensembles with such legends as Albert Ayler, Giuseppi Logan and Sonny Sharrock. He is a founding pioneer of avant-garde jazz, and he remains one of the most influential living figures in the evolution of the form.

The film draws the viewer through the artist’s lush garden and ornate home, into the martial arts dojo in his backyard and the laboratory in his basement - all of this just blocks from where he grew up in the housing projects of South Jamaica, Queens.

Graves tells stories of discovery, struggle and survival, ruminates on the essence of 'swing,' activates electronic stethoscopes in his basement lab to process the sound of his heart, and travels to Japan where he performs at a school for children with autism, igniting the student body into an ecstatic display of spontaneous collective energy.

Oscillating from present to past and weaving intimate glimpses of the artist’s complex cosmology with blistering performances from around the globe, MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS is cinema full of fluidity, polyrhythm and intensity, embodying the essence of Graves’ music itself.


Jake Meginsky / Director
Neil Young / Co-Director


Milford Graves / Music and Words

Jake Meginsky, Neil Young / Editing

Neil Young / Cinematography

Jake Meginsky / Producer

Neil Young, Gabe Chicoine, George Myers / Co-producers 

Neil Young, Jake Meginsky, Marcus DeMaio / Camera

Jake Meginsky / Sound Design

Milford Graves / Animations

Ernst Karel / Re-Recording Mix

Jeffrey Weaver / Titles

Evan Schwenterly / Color Correction

Modulus / Post Finishing Facility 




AUG 15 - Texas Theater | Dallas, TX

AUG 15 - AUG 23 Northwest Film Forum | Seattle, WA

AUG 14 to AUG 16 - Zeitgeist Theater | New Orleans, LA

JUL 27 to AUG 5 - Roxie Theater | San Franscisco, CA

JUL 27 to AUG 2 - Laemmle Music Hall | Los Angeles, CA

JUL 20 to 26 - The Screening Room | Amherst, NY

JUL 13 to AUG 2 - Metrograph | NYC

Jul 12 - Manchester Jazz Festival, Manchester, UK

JUL 9 - BFI Southbank | London, UK

JUL 1 - The Hollywood Theatre - Sonic Cinema | Portland, OR

JUN 16 - The Museum of Fine Arts Houston - Jazz on Film Screening | Houston, TX

JUN 15 - Oak Cliff Film Festival | Dallas, TX

JUN 9 & 11 - Sheffield Doc Fest | Sheffield, United Kingdom

JUN 9 - The Thing In The Spring Festival | Peterborough, NH

APR 27 & MAY 6 - Film Society of Lincoln Center - Art of the Real (SOLD OUT) | New York, NY

MAY 3 & 5 - Maryland Film Festival | Baltimore, MD

APR 30 & MAY 2 - Indielisboa Film Festival | Lisboa, Portugal

APR 20 & 21 -  Sarasota Film Festival - Independent Visions Competition | Sarasota, FL

MAR 23 - Big Ears Festival (Public Cinema Regal Riviera) | Knoxville, TN

MAR 17 & 21 - CPH:DOX* Festival: Vester Vov Vov | Copenhagen, Denmark

MAR 13, 15 & 16 - SXSW | Austin, TX

JAN 27 & 29 - International Film Festival Rotterdam | Rotterdam, Netherlands

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