The filmmakers behind "Framing Britney Spears" are speaking out about the documentary’s impact on the pop star’s ongoing conservatorship court battle.
The documentary from the New York Times debuted on FX on Hulu in February and shined a light on the situation that the "Toxic" singer has been putting up with for the past 13 years under her father’s legal conservatorship. Since then, filmmakers Samantha Stark, Liz Day and Mary Robertson have been following the ongoing court case as well as the public’s reckoning with how Spears was treated.
Shortly after their investigation into Spears’ conservatorship dropped, the star herself appeared in court and, in an explosive testimony, publicly called for it to end for the first time. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter after months of public scrutiny surrounding the star, Stark and Day explained how they feel their work has impacted the current situation.
Stark noted that, although they got the public’s attention with their documentary, Spears had been signaling that this was her will for a while.
"I think what’s happening now has been bubbling up with Britney for a long time, since before the documentary we made. We know from confidential court documents that we found — we’ve been reporting since the film came out and we published an investigation the day before she spoke on June 23 — that at least as early as 2014, she was communicating to the court that she wanted to end the conservatorship; she wanted to investigate her father in 2016, 2019, and now in 2021," Stark explained. "And we know in 2019, she was very passionate, it seems, about getting the story out there that she was held against her will in a mental health facility, and she said she told the judge that that happened in 2019. She said, "I felt like I wasn’t heard, I felt like I was dead." We know Britney has been trying to get across this idea for a really long time."
She also noted that she believes the documentary helped Spears get the facts of her situation out to the public in a way she maybe wasn’t confident in her ability to do otherwise. Now, with the public wind at her back, Spears has been able to get a real conversation going about her conservatorship.
Although a judge denied her request to take her father off her conservatorship, Spears was indeed able to choose her own legal representation, a step forward in a case that’s been vexing the star for years.
As Spears, who did not participate with Stark and Day on the documentary, continues to seek a legal end to her conservatorship, they both note that there are still unanswered questions about it that they believe will eventually come out.
"There are so many questions that are still unanswered. Big ones that we’re particularly interested in are the conservatorship as a money-making operation," Day told the outlet. "Who profited off of the conservatorship? Many different players were involved in making money off of the money that Britney brought in under the "hybrid business model" that one of her co-conservators called the conservatorship."
Day goes on to note that she’s interested in figuring out what happened to past requests Spears made in court to get her father out of her conservatorship.
"So, what happened with that request? Was that just ignored, and is that appropriate given that the conservatee’s wishes are supposed to be respected in the system?" she concluded.