It seems like Beyoncé's new "Formation" video takes unauthorized footage from the 2013 documentary "That B.E.A.T."
UPDATE (02/07/15 10:19 AM): "That B.E.A.T." director Chris Black has revealed that Beyoncé's team did try to license footage from his documentary last month, though he maintains a deal was never struck. The film's other director, Abteen Bagheri, apparently denied a request from those involved with "Formation" to gain access to "That B.E.A.T." footage. A representative for Beyoncé, however, tells a different story.
In a statement shared by the New York Times, Beyoncé's rep explains that all footage taken from "That B.E.A.T." was obtained legally: "The documentary footage was used with permission and licensed from the owner of the footage. They were given proper compensation. The footage was provided to us by the filmmaker’s production company. The filmmaker is listed in the credits for additional photography direction. We are thankful that they granted us permission."
Original text below:
As is the case with most everything she does, Beyoncé has caused a rupture in the Internet with her new single and accompanying music video. The video, set in New Orleans, features an incredible run of costume changes and other iconic Bey moments that will soon be GIF'd into oblivion. Hours after its release, it seems the video has been met with much praise, though documentarians Chris Black and Abteen Bagheri were not happy to see shots from their mini-documentary, "That B.E.A.T.," directly inserted into the new "Formation" video without permission.
"That B.E.A.T.," released almost three years ago, is a 9-minute documentary that focuses on the New Orleans-bred genre of bounce music and the culture that surrounds it. The directors of the project, Black and Bagheri, both took to their Twitter accounts upon the release of "Formation" to express their dismay at seeing their work appear uncredited in Bey's new video.
Why Melina gotta use clips from our doc?!? Was the budget not big enough to spend a week in New Orleans and actually build with the people.— chris black (@TheBlack) February 6, 2016
The funny thing is that our doc is lowkey iconic so the audacity to rip and pass it off like we not gonna notice. You outta touch b!— chris black (@TheBlack) February 6, 2016
At least credit the filmmakers that followed their passions and did the actual work.— chris black (@TheBlack) February 6, 2016
At least when diplo ripped clips from our doc he drew cartoons on top of it.— abteen bagheri (@abteen) February 6, 2016
I'm not mad. It's the sad reality of the music business. Doesn't affect my friends' and my work, but not cool.— abteen bagheri (@abteen) February 6, 2016
It's one thing to make a career off referencing/copying, but just to take footage from our lens and say you're the director?— abteen bagheri (@abteen) February 6, 2016
Also, coincidentally, 2 years ago today is the day That B.E.A.T. got accepted to SXSW, haha... Thanks Facebook.— abteen bagheri (@abteen) February 7, 2016
If you call yourself a director, have some respect for other people with the same title. Talk to me about how and why you need my footage.— abteen bagheri (@abteen) February 7, 2016
This is awesome. My twitter's blowing up for something I did 3 years ago. Thanks Melina/Beyoncé.— abteen bagheri (@abteen) February 7, 2016
According to the FADER, the director of "Formation" is Melina Matsoukas, who has been behind past Beyoncé videos like "Pretty Hurts." Following the controversy surrounding the allegedly stolen footage, Matsoukas went on Twitter (for the first time in many months) to offer words of praise to both Black and Bagheri. She wrote that their "beautiful NOLA footage" helped "make #FORMATION whole."