Framing Britney Spears — the documentary charting the life and fame of the iconic singer — has attracted a huge amount of attention since its release less than a week ago.
After watching the film, viewers expressed outrage over the misogyny Britney endured as she rose to fame, the intrusion she suffered at the hands of the paparazzi, the way she was treated by ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, and the restraints of her conservatorship.
However, despite the documentary featuring numerous lawyers, media commentators, and even Britney's former assistant, the singer and her family were notably absent from the film.
And closing-out notes at the end of the documentary revealed that Britney had been "contacted numerous times" about participating, but the filmmakers were unsure the requests ever reached her.
Well, the documentary's director, Samantha Stark, has now elaborated on the situation, claiming that the production team tried "several different ways" to reach Britney — and even direct messaged her on social media — but heard "nothing" back.
"We went through those usual places, and then we also went through people who know her or know people who know her to get requests in," she added. "So we asked in several different ways, but it is still unclear if she definitely got them. We tried everything. Nothing."
"We, as the New York Times, haven't interviewed her, because we want to be able to do it freely with no one trying to adjust what she says or anything," she added. "It just feels like you can't ask Britney."
And Samantha also revealed that she felt "conflicted" over making the documentary without Britney's involvement throughout the entire process.
"There's a big ethical conflict for me in making a film where the central person in it isn't participating," she said. "It's really something that I've been thinking about this entire time that's really challenging. I guess I would want to say to her, 'Call me. I want to hear your side.'"
Earlier this week, Samantha revealed that she'd resorted to analyzing Britney's social media posts as she believes that the singer's Instagram is the "only place" fans will "actually hear from her."
"The thing about that is you can’t ask Britney if she needs help because there’s such a tight cone of silence around her that is enabled by the conservatorship," she told Variety. "It feels like her Instagram is the only place you can actually hear from her. I look at Britney’s Instagram every day to see if there’s a new post and if I can look into it."