Aretha Franklin Concert Film 'Amazing Grace' to Open 2019 Ebertfest

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Aretha Franklin

The University of Illinois says the 1972 film directed by Sydney Pollack has been stored in a vault for decades. It’s now been restored and released.

The Aretha Franklin concert film Amazing Grace will open this year’s Roger Ebert film festival in Champaign-Urbana.

The University of Illinois says the 1972 film directed by Sydney Pollack has been stored in a vault for decades. It’s now been restored and released. It will kick off this year’s Ebertfest, followed by a live community choir performance. Franklin died from pancreatic cancer at age 76 in August.

Ebertfest co-founder Chaz Ebert says that instead of opening with the traditional musical, this year the festival will begin with “a glorious, gospel-infused high note.”

The annual festival honors Ebert, the late Chicago Sun-Times film critic and an Illinois graduate. It runs April 10-13 at Champaign’s Virginia Theatre. More films and a screening schedule are to be released.