Aretha Franklin doc Amazing Grace pulled from Toronto film fest

The contentious Aretha Franklin documentary Amazing Grace has been pulled from the lineup at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Singer sought injunction to block Telluride film fest screening last weekend

Aretha Franklin, seen performing in Baltimore in 2014, sought an injunction to block the screening of Amazing Grace at the Telluride Film Festival over the weekend. The doc was also set to screen at TIFF, which begins Thursday. (Owen Sweeney/Invision/Associated Press)

A contentious Aretha Franklin documentary has been pulled from the lineup at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Festival organizers say they are disappointed that producers decided to withdraw the film Amazing Grace. Three screenings were planned for the Toronto film festival, which begins Thursday.

"We are extremely disappointed that Toronto audiences will not be able to see this extraordinary piece of art," says the statement, issued Tuesday.

"The footage in the film is truly a cinematic treasure of twentieth century music and we hope global audiences will have opportunity to experience this film once a resolution is found."

Singer obtained injunction

Last week, a federal judge blocked the Telluride Film Festival from screening the doc, which is based on archival concert footage, without Franklin's consent.

Franklin's lawyers argued that director Sydney Pollack said he wouldn't use footage he shot in 1972 for commercial purposes without her agreement. Pollack died of cancer in 2008.

U.S. District Judge John L. Kane issued his order in Denver about three hours before Telluride's Friday night screening of Amazing Grace. Franklin testified by telephone from Detroit that she had objected to use of the concert footage in the documentary for years.

"Justice, respect and what is right prevailed and one's right to own their own self," Franklin said in a statement issued Saturday.

Attorneys for the film festival had argued that a recently discovered 1968 contract that Franklin signed allowed the use of the footage. But Kane said that document appeared to only relate to her music recordings.

A screening at the Chicago Film Festival in October has also been cancelled


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