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Aretha succeeds in bid to have movie suppressed

Amazing Grace pulled from film festival over 1972 footage

Aretha Franklin has succeeded in her bid to have a movie from being screened amid a rights battle.

She launched action against the producers of Amazing Grace, which includes footage from a 1972 performance in the documentary. It tells the story of how her album of the same name was recorded in a Los Angeles church, and features concert scenes shot by Sydney Pollack.

She previously acted to prevent producer Alan Elliott from screening it in 2011.

Franklin’s representatives said on Friday that the performance material “was taken with the express understanding that it would not be used commercially without agreement” – and that she hadn’t given her approval.

The documentary was scheduled to be shown at the Telluride Film Festival over the weekend – but a court ruled in her favour and forbade three screenings.

District Judge John Kane also barred it from being shown for the following 14 days. Another hearing is to take place then.

Franklin said: “Justice, respect and what is right prevailed, and one’s right to their own self-image.”

But a lawyer for the film festival said: “There’s a real likelihood that Ms Franklin does not own the rights to the images in that picture.”

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