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Amazing Grace documentary pulled from Chicago film festival after Aretha Franklin injunction

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Monica Morgan/WireImage

After Aretha Franklin filed an emergency injunction to have the documentary Amazing Grace pulled from the Telluride Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival has also pulled the film from its lineup.

“Sydney Pollack was a longtime personal friend and supporter of our Festival and I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to screen his previously undiscovered work at our festival this year when it was offered to us in August,” festival founder and creative director Michael Kutza said in a statement. “It is a truly captivating film experience and a testament to the undeniable talents of Aretha Franklin. Out of respect for the legal proceedings and Ms. Franklin we have decided to pull the film from our lineup until such time as the issue is able to be resolved amicably.”

Amazing Grace documents Franklin’s famous album of the same name and is comprised heavily of footage shot by Pollack of the singer’s 1972 concert in a Los Angeles church. The documentary was originally slated to premiere at Telluride on Friday, but the singer was granted the injunction and the screening was blocked. Franklin objected to the use of footage from this concert. 

She said in a statement, “Justice, respect and what is right prevailed and one’s right to own their own self-image.”

The Chicago International Film Festival honored Pollack in 1986 at a gala hosted by film critic Roger Ebert. Kutza was also the recipient of the Sydney Pollack Award from the American Cinematheque in 2012.

Amazing Grace is scheduled to screen as part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s slate later this week. 

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