Over the last few days, fans of unreleased footage of people singing soul music and fans of litigation related to unreleased footage of people singing soul music have been on the edge of their seats thanks to Aretha Franklin and a lawsuit holding back the release of Amazing Grace, a documentary culled from concert footage that Franklin never signed off on. The video was filmed by Sydney Pollack, who agreed to never release it without Franklin’s approval, so when a producer named Alan Elliott tried to do just that, Franklin filed a lawsuit to prevent the release of the film. The lawsuit also targeted the Telluride, Toronto, and Chicago film festivals, all of which then canceled their scheduled screenings of Amazing Grace. Over the weekend, though, the people behind the movie reportedly held at least one secret screening for a bunch of representatives from film studios, hoping they could convince one of them to buy it even amidst this legal stuff.
Now, according to Deadline, Franklin has dropped part of her Amazing Grace lawsuit—but not the important part. She’s still fighting the documentary in general, but she has now abandoned her complaint against the Telluride Film Festival. The reasoning here is pretty straightforward: Telluride is over, and it never officially showed the documentary, so she no longer has any issue with it. Her latest court filing even makes this clear (or as clear as court filings are) by saying, “this Voluntary Notice of Dismissal applies exclusively to Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant Telluride Film Festival and shall not impact Plaintiff’s claims against any other Defendant,” which is a legalese way of saying “she’s still suing you, Alan Elliott.” So now a small part of this long and epic saga has concluded, leaving us in basically the same place we were at from the start.