Director Abteen Bagheri and producer Chris Black are upset that scenes from their mini-documentary, That B.E.A.T., were ripped without credit in Beyoncé’s "Formation" video, which was directed by Melina Matsoukas. As you can see, some of the beginning scenes are similar:
Matsoukas has responded to the controversy, tweeting:
We spoke with That B.E.A.T. producer, Chris Black, who said he was in talks last week regarding the use of footage from the documentary for Beyoncé's new video. The talks ended Sunday and nothing was finalized to his knowledge. "They sent an NDA, I saw Beyoncé's name in it. And I just never signed it. And that was it. They never said, 'Hey, we talked to this person and it's all good.' It just kind of ended there," Chris said. "They had reached out to [That B.E.A.T. director] Abteen and he told them no."
Chris also responded to Matsoukas' tweet: "That's awesome that you're acknowledging this stuff. Would she have done it before I said anything? Because I checked her tweets when the video dropped, and her last tweet was days ago. The video had probably been out for an hour or two, and she didn't say anything then."
That B.E.A.T. was made in partnership with Sundance and Somesuch & Co, and presented by Nokia Music, so it's possible Matsoukas and her production company reached out to them to get approval on using footage rather than through Chris and Abteen. "I don't own the rights to it, also I never signed a contract with Nokia or Sundance," Chris said. "If in fact they did get the proper permission, why still use the footage? You had a big budget! Doesn't make sense to me." Legally, Matsoukas may be in the right, but this situation seems to hit a grey area ethically.