Aretha Franklin Documentary Finally Set to Premiere After 46-Year Wait

Aretha Franklin performs in concert at Radio City Music Hall on February 18, 2012, in New York. (Credit: Shutterstock)

A longed-shelved documentary about the late Aretha Franklin will finally see the light of day.

The film, Amazing Grace, covers the music legend’s 1972 performances at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. Although the doc was intended to be a companion piece to Franklin’s album of the same name, it never came to fruition due to technical issues.

Now, 46 years later, the movie will premiere at the DOC NYC festival on Monday, Nov. 12, Variety reported. The release comes months after Franklin’s death from pancreatic cancer in August.

Producer Alan Elliott, who bought and digitally restored the footage in 2007, initially tried to premiere Amazing Grace in 2011. But the release never happened because Elliott — as Franklin’s lawyers argued in an injunction didn’t have permission from the Queen of Soul to use her likeness.

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The filmmaker attempted to screen the project at the Toronto and Telluride film festivals in 2015, a move that the Respect performer successfully blocked.

Elliott’s luck changed, however, when he screened Amazing Grace for Franklin’s family.

“In recent weeks, Alan presented the film to the family at the African American Museum here, and we absolutely love it,” Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and executor of her estate, said in a statement to Variety.

“We can see Alan’s passion for the movie, and we are just as passionate about it,” the statement continued. “It’s in a very pure environment, very moving and inspirational, and it’s an opportunity for those individuals who had not experienced her in a gospel context to see how diverse her music is. We are so excited to be a part of this.”

An Oscar-qualifying release of Amazing Grace is planned for this fall, with screenings in Los Angeles and New York.

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