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The Sedona International Film Festival is proud to present the Northern Arizona premiere of the award-winning new documentary “Amazing Grace” June 14-20 the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.
“Amazing Grace” is a never-before-seen film of the live recording of Aretha Franklin’s album “Amazing Grace” at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in January 1972. The album would become the highest-selling album of Franklin’s career and the most successful gospel album of all time.
Aretha Franklin had originally been signed to Columbia Records by John Hammond, who also signed Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen. When her Columbia career failed to ignite, Atlantic Records signed her, and under the guidance of Jerry Wexler, Franklin’s career was transformed.
Starting in 1967, her string of hits — “I Never Loved A Man”, “Respect”, “Baby I Love You”, “Chain of Fools”, “Think”, “Don’t Play That Song” — kept Atlantic Records at the top of both the Pop and R&B charts. Franklin’s success disguised the fact that the label was losing touch with its R&B heritage following the death of Otis Redding and Ray Charles’ defection to a rival company.
Love of Soul Music — from the Supremes to Al Green — had united Americans across racial lines. By 1971, Aretha Franklin was known as the Queen of Soul. In the culmination of five years of chart-topping hits, she and her producer decided her next recording would take her back to the music of her youth, to the world of American Gospel music.
“Amazing Grace” was not intended as a swan song, but it would turn out to be an elegiac moment in American musical history as well as a salute to the gospel heritage that had transformed American music in the 1960s.
Forty-seven years later, this film is a testimony to the greatness of Aretha Franklin and a time machine window into a moment in American musical and social history.
“It will make you feel as if you’ve seen the face of God.” — Rolling Stone
“Nothing short of a revelation. Soaring from one chill-inducing moment to another.” — NPR
“Everybody deserves to have Aretha Franklin take them to the moon … don’t bother with tissues. Bring a towel.” — The New York Times
“A full-on experience, body and soul.” — Vox
“The energy of her performance is electrifying.” — Los Angeles Times
“Amazing Grace” will be shown at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre June 14-20. Showtimes will be 4 p.m. on Friday, Sunday and Monday, June 14, 16 and 17; and 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, June 19 and 20.
Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members. For tickets and more information, please call 928-282-1177. Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona.