The highly anticipated documentary Amazing Grace, featuring Aretha Franklin's performances at Los Angeles' New Temple Missionary Baptist Church, will finally make its world debut at the country's largest documentary film festival, DOC NYC.
Warner Bros. recorded the performances as a companion documentary for the double live album Amazing Grace. The performances Franklin did between January 13 and 14, 1972, in Watts, are considered Franklin's best, and Amazing Grace went on to become Franklin's biggest selling album and the best-selling gospel album of all-time. Even though the record was highly successful, the documentary was never released due to technical issues.
Producer Alan Elliot was able to acquire the film rights in 2007. Via Elliot and producers Joy Boyd, Robert Johnson, Chiemi Karasawa, Franklin's niece and Aretha Franklin estate executor Sabrina Owens, Jerry Wexler, Tirrell D. Whittley and Joseph Woolf, editor Jeff Buchanan and sound mixer Jimmy Douglass, the footage has now been made available to the public. The film, according to the press release, has "the complete support and blessing from The Aretha Franklin Estate."
DOC NYC artistic director Thom Powers said in the release, "Amazing Grace has been a lost treasure of documentary filmmaking for over four decades. I can't think of a bigger honor for a festival than to premiere this film."
"I am thrilled to work with Sabrina Owens and the family to do right by Aretha's legacy," said Elliot in the release. "Being able to share this film and the musical genius of Aretha Franklin with her family and the world is an honor. Aretha’s fans will be enthralled by every moment of the film as her genius, her devotion to God and her spirit are present in every frame."
"Amazing Grace is the heart and soul of Aretha Franklin," added Owens. "This film is authentic and is my aunt at her core. She was a daughter of the church, she loved gospel music, and she always incorporated some form of sacred music in her concerts."
"Bringing this film to audiences is a great joy and privilege for me," said Whittley. "Amazing Grace is a unique film that lifts the spirit and soul with the joy of gospel music. It's a pure experience, showcasing Aretha Franklin in her element doing what she does best and being The Queen."
Amazing Grace will screen November 12 at 6:45 p.m. and 9 p.m. at the SVA Theatre. Tickets can be bought at docnyc.net.