The long-awaited Aretha Franklin documentary will finally hit the big screen after a 46-year delay.
According to Variety the Franklin estate and producer Alan Elliott reached an agreement and the gospel concert film will premiere on November 12th at the DOC NYC festival, with a planned general release in 2019.
The film had originally been scheduled to premiere at the Telluride and Toronto festivals in 2015, but showings were halted once Franklin’s attorneys argued the singer had the right to deny the use of her likeness in the film. The late legend was eventual made a partner in the movie.
The film documents what many consider to be Franklin’s greatest performance— a two-night gospel set recorded with a band and the Rev. James Cleveland’s choir at a South-Central L.A. church in 1972. The performance was later released in audio form that same year. It remains the bestselling gospel album of all time.
“Her singularity and her absence are really felt right now,” Elliott told Variety. “I think there is that energy toward rediscovering things that she did. And I feel that this performance is really her crowning achievement — and I think she felt that way too. As much as anything, I wish she had been here to be a part of it, especially since she said she loved the movie.”
“We are just as passionate about it,” Franklin’s niece and executor of her estate, Sabrina Owens told Variety. It’s in a very pure environment, very moving and inspirational, and it’s an opportunity for those individuals who had not experienced her in a gospel context to see how diverse her music is. We are so excited to be a part of this.”
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