“Amazing Grace” producers, Franklin seek new injunction

Lawyers for Aretha Franklin and producers of the documentary Amazing Grace have jointly sought an indefinite injunction prohibiting screenings until the two sides can agree on a deal.
March 8, 2016

Lawyers for soul singer Aretha Franklin and producers of the documentary Amazing Grace have jointly sought an injunction that will prohibit screenings of the film until the two sides can agree on a deal.

Franklin and producers have been fighting a legal battle over the 1972 concert film for the past six months. Shot by late director Sydney Pollack, the film chronicles the recording of Franklin’s Amazing Grace album at Los Angeles’ New Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

On Monday (March 7), both parties asked a Denver court to issue a preliminary injunction that would allow the case to be reopened if ongoing negotiations break down, but would also bar Elliott from screening or releasing the doc without Franklin’s consent until a settlement is reached.

Last year, the Queen of Soul won an injunction blocking the film from being screened after it was added to the Telluride Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival line-ups. Franklin claimed the screenings violated her right to privacy, her rights to use and control her name and likeness and her contractual and intellectual rights.

As a result, the Telluride screening was cancelled and producers withdrew it from Toronto. The judge, John Kane, had since extended the injunction, with the latest set to expire on March 10.

The indefinite extension applied for in the joint motion is intended to allow negotiations to take place without either side expending legal resources in court, according to the legal filing, and gives the parties “breathing room” to continue negotiations.

Although they are “optimistic” for a resolution to the dispute, neither party is certain when a deal will be reached “given the complexity of the negotiations and the multiple parties involved.”

“There is, at present, no assurance that a final resolution will be reached in the near term,” the document states. “The Parties are optimistic that the stars will eventually align, but cannot in good conscience represent to the Court that there will be a final resolution in an additional 30 or even 60 days.”

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.