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Aretha Franklin documentary Amazing Grace pulled from Toronto Film Festival

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Noam Galai/Getty Images file

The Toronto International Film Festival has canceled its screenings of Amazing Grace amid legal efforts by Aretha Franklin to block the documentary.

“We are extremely disappointed that Toronto audiences will not be able to see this extraordinary piece of art,” the festival said in a statement Tuesday. “The footage in the film is truly a cinematic treasure of twentieth century music and we hope global audiences will have opportunity to experience this film once a resolution is found.”

Last week, Franklin was granted an emergency injunction stopping the film’s screening at the Telluride Film Festival. Over the weekend, the Chicago International Film Festival also canceled its planning screening of the film next month.

Amazing Grace documents the 1972 recording of Franklin’s album of the same name and is composed heavily of footage shot by the late Sydney Pollack, including scenes of Franklin’s historic performance at a Los Angeles church. Franklin has objected to the use of that footage.

The film was slated to have three screenings at Toronto, on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Saturday showing will be replaced by a screening of the documentary Northern Soul, festival organizers said. Ticketholders for the other two showings will have the ability to exchange their tickets for other screenings. 

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