Will anyone ever get to see that Aretha Franklin decades-in-the-making documentary, “Amazing Grace”? Increasingly, the answer looks to be, not likely.
Yesterday, Tambay reported in detail (see post below this one) the complicated and confusing story about the film made by the late great film director, Sydney Pollack, of the legendary Franklin 1972 gospel concert at the Los Angeles Missionary Baptist Church, which, after literally 4 decades in an uncompleted state, was finally edited and finished and set to premiere at the Telluride Film festival last week.
Well that was until Franklin had an injunction issued by a Federal Court in Colorado to stop the screening of the film, claiming that, though she had made a deal with the producers to allow them to film the the concert, the film could only be shown or distributed with her permission, which, to date, she has not given. She also claimed that the producers “improperly used her likeness and name for the film.”
Though the scheduled screening for the film this week at the Toronto Film Festival is till up in the air, Michael Kutza, the founder and artistic director of the Chicago International Film Festival (which runs from Oct.15-29), is taking no chances and, yesterday, announced that he was pulling the film from this years’s schedule.
According to Kutza: “Sydney Pollack was a longtime personal friend and supporter of our Festival and I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to screen his previously undiscovered work at our festival this year when it was offered to us in August. Amazing Grace is a truly captivating film experience and a testament to the undeniable talents of Aretha Franklin. Out of respect for the legal proceedings and Ms. Franklin we have decided to pull the film from our lineup until such time as the issue is able to be resolved amicably”.
In other words they hope that the issue will be resolved in the next few weeks allowing the CIFF to show the film..