Aretha Franklin gives TIFF its first controversy of 2015
Aretha Franklin is causing a stir at TIFF and the festival hasn't even started yet. Earlier today, the Queen of Soul was granted a legal injunction against the Telluride Film Festival to prevent the premiere screening of Amazing Grace, the documentary about the making of Aretha Franklin's best-selling album way back in 1972.
The film has now been scrapped from Telluride's schedule and all bets are that TIFF won't be able to follow through on its planned screening on September 10.
The documentary shot by the late director Sydney Pollack has been gathering dust for decades but before he passed away in 2008 he asked that the film be completed. Thanks to producer Allan Elliott, it now has been.
It was set to be a major cinematic event, providing never seen behind-the-scenes footage of the two-day recording of Franklin's album in New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles.
According to Franklin's complaint, the chief issue is that "the footage was taken with the express understanding that it would not be used commercially without agreement and consent by Ms. Franklin."
That consent, she claims, was not given for Amazing Grace. So, the complaint argues, "Allowing the film to be shown violates Ms. Franklin's contractual rights, her intellectual property rights, her rights to use and control her name and likeness, and represents an invasion of her privacy."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Colorado judge has no jurisdiction over Canada, so the film could still be shown here but Franklin's attorney says her team plans to pursue a similar injunction in Canada.
The ball is now in TIFF's court. As of press time, no comment or schedule change had been forthcoming.
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