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“Amazing Grace” Film About Aretha Franklin Life Cancelled at Telluride Film Festival

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“Amazing Grace” Film About Aretha Franklin Life Cancelled at Telluride Film Festival

Aretha Franklin prevailed on Friday in an 11th-hour legal bid to stop the Telluride Film Festival from screening Sydney Pollack’s posthumous documentary “Amazing Grace,” which shows the making of Ms. Franklin’s album of the same name more than four decades ago.

In a strongly worded emergency order, Judge John L. Kane of the United States District Court for Colorado said Ms. Franklin had “a high likelihood of success on the merits” of her case. “A film that essentially recreates the entire concert experience is not fair use of this footage,” he added.

The injunction specifically barred screenings in Telluride, including what would have been the film’s premiere on Friday night at the 500-seat Chuck Jones Cinema, and did not mention other film festivals. The judge’s order, which will expire in 14 days, also blocked screenings scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.

The injunction clouds the future of what had been one of the festival season’s most highly anticipated documentaries. The movie was set to show on Thursday at the Toronto International Film Festival, where distribution rights were to be sold at an accompanying film market.

Ms. Franklin had long opposed the release of the movie, which she said violated her contractual and other rights. While those issues remain to be settled, Friday’s injunction throws into disarray the plans for a splashy debut and high-profile sale.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the festival told attendees of the ruling late Friday afternoon and said another documentary, “Sherpa,” would be substituted at the planned screening.

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