Aretha Franklin, ‘Amazing Grace’ Producer Ask Court for ‘Breathing Room’ to Resolve Case

Aretha Franklin
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Attorneys for Aretha Franklin and producer Alan Elliott are asking for “breathing room” to resolve their legal dispute over footage from Elliott’s documentary “Amazing Grace,” which was pulled from the Telluride Film Festival after she challenged its release in court.

On Monday, reps for Franklin and Elliott asked a federal court in Denver to enter a preliminary injunction prohibiting Elliott from screening the movie without her consent, with the stipulation that the case can be reopened as they try to work on a settlement.

Franklin had sued Elliott for using the footage from the 1972 gospel concert without authorization, and it was pulled from Telluride after a federal judge ruled in her favor.

Since then, the judge in the case, John Kane, has granted several extensions to a temporary injunction at the parties tried to resolve the case.

“The most recent extension is due to expire on March 10, 2016,” the attorneys said in the motion filed on Monday. “Unfortunately, given the complexity of the negotiations and the multiple parties involved (including persons or entities not involved in this litigation), there is, at present, no assurance that a final resolution will be reached in the near term. The parties are optimistic that the stars will eventually align, but cannot in good conscience represent to the Court that there will be a final resolution in an additional 30 or even 60 days.”

Their motion asks the court to issue an injunction without an expiration date, but the parties will be allowed to reopen the case if the negotiations break down. The injunction also prohibits Elliott from screening the movie to prospective buyers. The attorneys said that such a move would give them “breathing room they need to bring negotiations to a conclusion.”

The documentary is based on footage of a Franklin concert shot by Sydney Pollack, as part of an uncompleted project. Franklin contends that a quitclaim agreement attached to the concert footage requires that she authorize its release.