Framing Britney Spears: Directed by Samantha Stark (Women in Film)

Samantha Stark (Framing Britney Spears)

Samantha Stark
Courtesy of Subject
Samantha Stark
For a while, it felt like Stark’s Framing Britney Spears–part of FX on Hulu’s New York Times Presents anthology series–was the talk of the town.

A sobering work that brought the #FreeBritney movement into the public eye, the docu instigated scrutiny of legal conservatorships and prompted conversation around the media’s misogynistic treatment of the pop star.

Among the millions to react to the film–which saw “We are sorry Britney” trending on Twitter–were stars like ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake, who publicly apologized after segments alleged that he had capitalized on their breakup to further his career.

For Stark, who had been making shorts for the Times for 9 years– often focusing on “outsiders and people who are misunderstood”–having people admit their complicity in the media’s narrative around Spears was moving: “My entire goal in life is for an audience to watch something I make and come away kinder.”

The docu underlines the cruelty of celebrity culture, asking serious questions about the way women are treated as fair game.

She was inspired by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s Jesus Camp: “I was so floored by the way my perceptions changed watching it.”

Stark continues to report on the Spears story for the Times. “But it’s my dream realized to direct feature docs,” she says, “so will definitely continue that route.”