The filmmakers behind Framing Britney Spears — which received some criticism from Spears — will release another new doc, Controlling Britney Spears, Friday, September 24th. The doc will air on FX and be available to stream on Hulu.
Like Framing Britney Spears, Controlling Britney Spears was produced by The New York Times for Hulu/FX, and it was helmed by director Samantha Stark and senior story editor Liz Day. Where the first film offered a broad overview of Spears’ career, how she ended up under the thumb of a conservatorship, and the rise of the #FreeBritney movement, this new one will examine the “intense surveillance apparatus that monitored every move the pop star made” (per The New York Times).
The film will feature interviews with those in Spears’ orbit who witnessed the intense scrutiny she was placed under. These will include, for instance, a former employee of a security firm that was hired by Spears’ father, Jamie Spears, to watch and protect her. “It really reminded me of somebody that was in prison,” the ex-employee said. “And security was put in a position to be the prison guards essentially.”
The surprise premiere of Controlling Britney Spears comes one day after Netflix announced that its documentary about Spears and her conservatorship, Britney vs. Spears, would drop next week, September 28th. In announcing the film, the press materials from Netflix stressed that the film would not include “the traumatic images that have previously defined her.”
While Framing Britney Spears was largely met with praise, and even snatched up two Emmy nominations, Spears expressed her frustration with it on Instagram. The pop star said she “didn’t like the way the documentaries bring up humiliating moments from the past,” and called the film “hypocritical” in its scrutiny of how the media has treated Spears in the past while “[doing] the same thing… Why highlight the most negative and traumatising [sic] times in my life from forever ago?”
When asked to respond to the criticism in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Stark said, “While we were making the film, we talked a lot about re-traumatizing Britney and her family by showing these moments. Part of the reason it’s called Framing Britney Spears is there are these still-photo frames that were humiliating to her. We thought it was really important to pull outside the frame because so many people had all these assumptions based on one frame, one still image that they saw. In the end, we felt like we had to put some of them in because we wanted people to have more context.”