Aretha Franklin Speaks Out on Telluride Injunction: ‘Justice, Respect’ Prevails

Singer responds to court ruling on “Amazing Grace” documentary screening at Colorado film festival

Aretha Franklin says she’s getting her R-E-S-P-E-C-T from the court, after a federal judge blocked The Telluride Film Festival screening of a documentary about a 1972 concert without the singer’s consent.

In a statement issued Saturday Franklin said: “Justice, respect and what is right prevailed and one’s right to own their own self-image.”

U.S. District Judge John L. Kane issued an order in Denver about three hours before the Friday night screening of “Amazing Grace.”

Earlier on Friday, the R&B singer had filed a lawsuit against the festival for emergency injunctive relief to stop scheduled screenings of the documentary, the first of which was slated for Friday at 7:30 p.m. local time.

Festival organizers have not returned TheWrap’s request for comment.

According to the lawsuit, the documentary film — about the recording of Franklin’s live double album of the same name — consists mostly of footage from the singer’s 1972 concert performance at the New Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California, shot by director Sydney Pollack. However, Franklin claims she never granted permission to use the footage in “any commercial context, and has not authorized the public release of the footage.”

The film’s producer, former record producer and current UCLA lecturer Alan Elliott, told the Los Angeles Times last month that Pollack “wanted me to finish the film after he died.”

Elliott pursued rights to the footage, which were granted by Warner Bros. Music via quitclaim deed in 2008, conditional on Franklin’s express permission.

Franklin stated that she learned “Amazing Grace” would be screened in its full length at the film festival. The lawsuit claims that “allowing the film to be shown violates Ms. Franklin’s contractual rights, her intellectual property rights, her rights to use and control her name and likeness, and represents an invasion of her privacy.”

It also violated the federal anti-bootlegging statute.