The never before seen movie featuring Aretha Franklin recording the most successful gospel album of all time, Amazing Grace. Amazing Grace is crafted from never before seen footage originally captured in 1972.
GUEST FILMMAKER: Join us in welcoming producers ALAN ELLIOTT and TIRRELL WHITTLEY, who will be in attendance for an audience discussion on opening night, Friday April 19th. Screenings sponsored by the Institute for African American Studies and Film Studies Programs at the University of Georgia.
From Film Forum: Aretha Franklin (1942-2018) may have been best known as the “queen of soul,” but she started her stunning career singing gospel music as a teenager on tour and at home in Detroit, where her father was a star pastor. Her 1972 album, Amazing Grace – an extraordinary concert of Franklin at the peak of her powers – was her most successful record, and the best-selling live gospel album of all time. It was recorded at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles – home to the gospel legend Reverend James Cleveland – by a team supervised by producer Jerry Wexler and in front of an audience filled with admirers, including Mick Jagger.
What is truly amazing is that this concert – a thrilling performance by Franklin in her prime – was also filmed by Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack, yet has remained unseen and unfinished for 46 years. Audiences will finally see Franklin sing a mix of gospel standards and contemporary songs, including ”Never Grow Old,” Marvin Gaye’s “Wholy Holy,” “God Will Take Care of You,” Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” “How I Got Over,” the title track, and much more.
Although the film was originally planned to be released by Warner Bros. in 1972 (on a double bill with SUPER FLY), there was difficulty finishing the film due to synchronization issues. The film languished in the vault for decades. Alan Elliott, a producer and associate of Jerry Wexler, and editor Jeff Buchanan supervised the completion of the film and remastered the soundtrack with renowned engineer Jimmy Douglass. [ Film Forum ]
ALAN ELLIOTT's signal career in American music and popular culture spans decades. During his long association with recording companies such as Atlantic Records, he's worked as a recording artist, composer/lyricist, producer, and as A&R executive associated with such performers as Prince, Miles Davis, George Clinton and Paul Simon. Elliott has also worked extensively with musical elements of TV and films, including his decades-long work in bringing AMAZING GRACE to a global audience. He lives in Los Angeles with his family.
TIRRELL WHITTLEY is a filmmaker, entrepreneur and media executive who has helped to govern successful campaigns for legendary properties and blockbuster hits including Black Panther, Guardians of the Galaxy, 42: The Jackie Robinson Story, War of the Planet of the Apes, Game of Thrones, Hunger Games, Fast& Furious 6, Black-ish, The Walking Dead, EMPIRE, and Power. He is an ordained deacon in his church and resides in a suburb of Atlanta with his wife and two daughters.
ADDITIONAL SUPPORTING EVENTS:
-- SATURDAY 4/20 -- 5:30p-9:00p -- As part of our 12th Anniversary celebration, DJ MAHOGANY will spin a festive mix of gospel and dance party tunes!
-- SUNDAY 4/21 -- 6:00p -- An Easter Sunday livestream broadcast following the film screening with REVEREND WILLIAM BARBER from his Greenleaf Church in Goldsboro, NC. A Protestant Minister and a political activist, Barber was a dear friend of Aretha Franklin's and will deliver a special sermon about her and the film.
-- MONDAY 4/22 -- 7:45p -- Panel discussion following the film screening with guest speakers FREDA SCOTT GILES, LESLEY FERACHO, and JEAN KIDULA, led by ED PAVLIC, AFAI Board Member and UGA Professor of English and African American Studies.