Aretha Franklin’s ‘Amazing Grace’ Documentary Coming To The Screen After 46 Years
Aretha Franklin may be gone, but her legacy lives on in the never before seen documentary Amazing Grace, which will make its world debut on November 12th at the 2018 DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival.
Originally filmed over 46 years ago, the documentary chronicles two nights in January 1972 where Aretha recorded not only her most successful album, but also the best selling gospel album of all time.
The documentary, which is believed to capture one of Aretha’s most captivating performances of her life, features classics like the slave spiritual “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” “How I Got Over,” written by her mentor Clara Ward, and a ten-minute rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
Recorded at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, CA, the film also shows attendees allowing themselves to be caught up by the soulful sounds of Aretha through dancing, shouting and singing along.
Notable attendees include people like the Rev. James Cleveland, Aretha’s father the Rev. C.L. Fraklin, Clara Ward, and Mick Jagger.
Directed by academy award winning director Sydney Pollack, who passed away in 2008, the recording was originally scheduled to be released along with the album in 1972. However, major technical issues prevented it from being released. Pollack forget to use clapper board, which prevented the sound from syncing with the recorded image, and the editors abandoned the project.
Years later, Alan Elliot, one of the film’s producers, was able to purchase the lost footage from Warner Brothers in 2007. With the advancement in technology, he was able to sync the footage with the audio recording in 2010, and had it set to release in 2011.
Unfortunately for Elliot, legal battles with Ms. Franklin delayed the film’s release yet again. Now that she has passed, Sabrina Owens, her niece and Personal Representative of her estate, has granted Elliot permission to release the film.
“This film is authentic and is my aunt at her core,” Owens said in a statement, “She was a daughter of the church, she loved gospel music, and she always incorporated some form of sacred music in her concerts.”
Elliot speculated that wide release of the film may arrive in January 2019, perhaps close to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.
The film will run twice at 6:45 pm and 9:00 pm on November 12th at the SVA Theater in New York, NY. Tickets can be purchased docnyc.net