Aretha Franklin blocks festival showing of ‘Amazing Grace’ movie on copyright grounds

The film was due to premiere at Telluride Film Festival last night

Aretha Franklin has been granted an injunction against the premiere of the movie Amazing Grace as Telluride Film Festival, on the basis that the film violates her right to name and likeness and invades her privacy.

Directed by Sydney Pollack, the movie is based around recordings made in 1972, when the director spent two days filming Franklin as she recorded the album of the same title.

The film had been due to premiere at Telluride Film Festival in Colorado yesterday evening, after Pollack spent decades trying to sort problems with the recording’s sound.

Franklin’s lawsuit claims that around 80 per cent of the film centres on images from the recording of the album ‘Amazing Grace’, and an injunction has been granted on the basis that the suit is likely to succeed.

Franklin had also successfully prevented a previous release of the film in 2011.


The original vinyl version of the album ‘Amazing Grace’ – the best selling gospel album of all time – contains sleevenotes indicating that the Pollack film would follow shortly after the album. 43 years later, with the film finally complete, it’s still unclear when it will see the light of day.

After last night’s showing, the film was originally scheduled to come out on September 10, at the Toronto Film Festival, but will now be postponed until legal issues are resolved.