Aretha Franklin belts two of her signature gospel songs, “Mary, Don’t You Weep” and “How I Got Over,” in the debut trailer for Amazing Grace, director Sydney Pollack’s long-awaited concert film capturing the sessions for her 1972 live album of the same name.
The documentary is set to premiere at the 2018 DOC NYC film festival with two screenings set for Monday, November 12th at 6:45 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. ET at the SVA Theatre in New York, New York.
“The album sold over 2 million copies and became the jewel in the crown of the queen,” a caption reads in the clip. “The album became the best-selling gospel record of all-time. The film has never been seen until now.”
The trailer opens with an establishing shot of New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California. Pollack captures Franklin performing live with a gospel choir and walking through the aisles as attendees dance and sing along.
In a statement about the documentary, Sabrina Owens, Franklin’s niece and the Personal Representative of the Aretha Franklin Estate, called Amazing Grace “the heart and soul of Aretha Franklin.” She added, “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.”
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Pollack filmed the concert during a church service in Watts on January 13th and 14th, 1972 for an intended companion project to the Amazing Grace double-LP, but the film was never released to the public due to technical and legal issues. Producer Alan Elliott acquired rights to the project in 2007.
“I am thrilled to work with Sabrina Owens and the family to do right by Aretha’s legacy,” Elliott said in a statement. “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 arrives less than three months after Franklin’s death from pancreatic cancer at age 76.