Aretha Franklin Doc ‘Amazing Grace’ Pulled from Telluride and Chicago International Film Festivals After Emergency Injunction

By Sameer Rao Sep 08, 2015

Aretha Franklin’s likeness has been used in commercials, television specials and throughout pop culture for years. But when now-deceased director Sydney Pollack’s documentary film "Amazing Grace" used footage from a 1972 concert in a Los Angeles church, the legendary singer put her foot down—and film festivals across the country took notice.

Franklin filed and won an emergency injunction against the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, which had planned to screen the film last Friday. The ruling came just three hours before the screening. Franklin claimed that "Amazing Grace," which explores her landmark album of the same name, violates her contractual and intellectual rights, as well as rights to control her likeness and her right to privacy. She also asserted that she did not give the film’s producers or the Telluride Festival rights to use the footage. 

In a statement to the AP on Saturday, Franklin asserted that "Justice, respect and what is right prevailed and one’s right to own their own self-image."

Out of respect for the legal proceedings, the Chicago International Film Festival removed the film from their lineup and festival director Michael Kutza issued a statement praising the film and director Pollack. However, "Amazing Grace" is still scheduled to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival later this week.

(H/t Entertainment Weekly, Associated Press/Hollywood Reporter)