Filmgoers at the Telluride Film Festival hoping to catch the never-before-seen footage of 30-year-old Aretha Franklin belt out Amazing Grace, just got some bad news.
Aretha Franklin– the film’s leading lady — has shut down the film’s premiere.
The film features Franklin’s 1972 performance at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. The footage was never released due to sound problems and was shelved for nearly four decades.
This year, however, producer Alan Elliott (who recently revived the footage and fixed the sound) was determined to release the coveted project, but failed to get the okay from Franklin.
“He had to have permission from her and he didn’t,” Judge Kane who presided over the case told The Hollywood Reporter. “He went ahead without having her consent.”
Franklin had long opposed the release of the movie, which she said violated contractual and other rights. She cited violation of the rights of publicity, the right to use her name and likeness and invasion of privacy and piracy as reasons to stop the film’s screening.
The judge’s injunction specifically blocked screenings scheduled through the weekend including what would have been the film’s premiere on Friday night.
“Aretha Franklin has spent over 50 years developing her art,” Franklin’s attorney Fred Fresard told THR. “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.”