Don't play with Aretha! Days after soul diva Aretha Franklin successfully got an injunction against a 1972 concert documentary about her before it was scheduled to screen at the Telluride Film Festival, she's been able to similarly pull the plug on the film's Toronto International Film Festival premiere.
The festival confirmed on Tuesday that a planned screening of the film, called Amazing Grace, has been canceled. "We are extremely disappointed that Toronto audiences will not be able to see this extraordinary piece of art. The footage in the film is truly a cinematic treasure of 20th century music, and we hope global audiences will have opportunity to experience this film once a resolution is found,” a festival representative told The Hollywood Reporter in a statement.
The festival added it was the producers' decision to cancel the screening, though no doubt they did so under the threat of Franklin's legal team. The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, says Franklin's legal action is just plain old bullying — and that the judge fell for it. "The singer evidently had no plausible claim to owning the footage or else she would have asserted one," reads a column in the entertainment trade publication. "Instead, it's pretty clear she did not own rights to Pollack's footage when she agreed to have her concert filmed."
To see an Aretha performance that won't get you a cease-and-desist letter, watch her tribute to Nelson Mandela at last year's BET Honors, below:
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(Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)