Aretha Franklin Bans ‘Amazing Grace’ Screening At Telluride Film Festival
Aretha Franklin has blocked the screening of Amazing Grace, a 1972 documentary directed by the late Sydney Pollack, that was supposed to premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado on Friday night.
Excited fans are hoping to see Sydney Pollack‘s 1972 documentary, Amazing Grace, but they will have to wait longer because its primary subject was able to prevent the release of the film. Aretha Franklin obtained an injunction from a Colorado judge hours before the premiere at the Telluride Film Festival.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Franklin’s team has managed to convince U.S. District Judge John Kane that releasing the movie would violate her rights to privacy, likeness, and name. Kane’s ruling stated:
“In 2008, a producer named Alan Elliott obtained rights to the footage of the concert from Warner Bros. Studios via a quitclaim deed. The quitclaim deed makes specific reference to the need to get Ms. Franklin’s permission to use the concert footage.”
The order will remain in place for at least 14 days. For Amazing Grace, Pollack followed Franklin over a two-day period as she was recording her live gospel album by the same name at a Watts church in California. Amazing Grace became the biggest selling live gospel album of all time, won the 1973 Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel Performance, and to this day remains Franklin’s most successful release.
All was set for Pollack’s documentary to follow the same triumphant path, but the famed director forgot to sync the sound, this was enough to derail the project for over four decades. In 2008, Elliott obtained the footage from Warner Bros. and was determined to get the documentary out. He even got Pollack’s blessing before his death the same year, he claims.
However, Franklin was also resolute in preventing Amazing Grace from ever hitting a movie theater. She won a first lawsuit in 2011, and her lawyers were happy with this week’s outcome. One of her attorneys, Fred Fresard, explained why all this is important for her client. He said:
“Aretha Franklin has spent over 50 years developing her art. Congress passed laws to protect artists like her. The producers needed to get her permission. So we think this was the right decision and we are very happy with the result.”
The 87-minute documentary is scheduled to premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival later this month, but Franklin is ready to block those plans. Interesting fact, the legendary soul singer once told a Detroit Free Press reporter that she saw and “loved” the documentary.