Aretha Franklin Amazing Grace Documentary Producer Sues Distributor Neon Over Fraud

Alan Elliott, producer of the 2018 Aretha Franklin documentary Amazing Grace, is suing Neon for acquiring the film’s distribution rights fraudulently, among other claims of mismanagement and suspicious accounting. In the New York Supreme Court suit, viewed by Pitchfork, Elliott alleges that Neon and its CEO, Tom Quinn, began “with a false and premature press announcement that Neon had already acquired those rights when in fact it had not.” Pitchfork has contacted representatives for Elliott and Neon for comment. 

After company’s “strong-arming” Amazing Grace into a distribution deal, Elliott claims that Neon then stifled the film’s reach. “Neon resorted to good old ‘Hollywood accounting’ and continues to kneecap the Picture’s distribution in order to avoid paying performance bonuses to Plaintiff and the Picture’s producers,” the suit reads. Elsewhere in his suit, Elliott alleges that Neon “abandoned any effort to promote the Picture’s awards run.” 

Amazing Grace documented the singer’s recording of her 1972 album of the same name over the span of two days at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles. The Southern California Community Choir served as her backing vocal group, with the whole band under the direction of James Cleveland. The film had been shelved for more than 40 years due to technical problems and Franklin’s dissatisfaction with the original material. 

Revisit Pitchfork’s feature “5 Takeaways from Amazing Grace, the Long-Lost Aretha Franklin Concert Film.”


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