Journalist David Farrier stumbles upon a mysterious tickling competition online. As he delves deeper he comes up against fierce resistance, but that doesn't stop him getting to the bottom of a story stranger than fiction.
David Farrier, a New Zealand pop cultural reporter whose story subjects often verge into the bizarre, believes he's found his next story when he stumbles across an online video on the world of competitive endurance tickling, a sport where the participants, with hands and feet tied down, are tickled for as long as they can endure. Participants are flown to Los Angeles first class, paid $1,500, and put up for four nights in a luxury hotel. Suitable participants are deemed to be younger, muscular males. The event is held on a monthly basis. In contacting the organizers, US-based Jane O'Brien Media, via their popular Facebook page to arrange for an interview, David receives a return message from one of their representatives, Debbie J. Kuhn, declining the offer, the message a homophobic rant largely against David. In that message, Debbie asserts that the competition is wholly a heterosexual athletic activity, she who does not appreciate what will be David's assumed gay bent on the story as...Written by
The executive producer, the producer, the two directors, and one of the actors... all five were sued in US Federal District Court in an effort to stop the film from being shown. Source: Courthouse News ("Tickled Film") See more »
I started this journey curious about a bizarre sport called Competitive Endurance Tickling. But I now think this was never even about tickling... This is about power, control and harassment. It's about one person's twistedness, and how far that can go. One person, who has managed to shelter himself with money to keep his obsession going. But now, it's his life exposed. For once, it's him on camera.
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Tickled certainly deviates from its trailer, but the film itself is a shocking piece of art. Tied together with tasteful cinematography (with necessary hidden cameras here and there), Tickled captures the enigma of David D'Amato's empire of male-tickling videos which results in scare tactics, harassment, and financial bullying of the unsuspecting participants--something that is very relevant to modern issues. I felt sad walking out of the film, which is evidence that this film does its job of riding the line between comedy and tragedy. I do feel that the trailer sets up an expectation of a horror/thriller aspect, but there is not much of this atmosphere in the film. I do, however, think that the film by itself is a brave piece of journalism that endangered the Tickled team financially and psychologically. The fact that the team was able to muster up the courage to finish the film is remarkable, and I hope David and his team are brought to justice.
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