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
A number of subjects from the film attended a screening and Q&A with co-director Dylan Reeve in Los Angeles. The very unusual Q&A was streamed live on Facebook and involved legal threats and warnings of potential criminal charges for the filmmakers by the film's subjects. 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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Insightful (and educational) look, at how much those with a lot of money (and power) can get away with!
'TICKLED': Four Stars (Out of Five)
Critically acclaimed documentary flick; about an online tickling competition, involving young athletes tickling each other. The film was directed by first time feature filmmakers David Farrier and Dylan Reeve. Farrier is a New Zealand entertainment journalist, who also stars in the movie. He met a lot of harsh resistance, while investigating the film's story, from a producer of the 'tickling endurance sport' (named Jane O'Brien). The struggles Farrier and Reeve had making the film, becomes as much apart of the story as the tickling itself. The movie has received mostly rave reviews from critics, and it's become a small indie hit (at the Box Office). I think the film is really well made, and extremely intriguing.
The movie begins with a montage of clips, from Farrier's other obscure entertainment stories. Then we see him come across an 'endurance tickling' video. He's intrigued by it, and he then decides to write the producers of the video (Jane O'Brien Media) about doing a story on the sport. He gets a very negative reply, from the corporation, which accuses him of wanting to put a 'gay slant' on the videos (as they insist the 'endurance competition' is exclusively heterosexual). Farrier, and his friend Dylan Reeve, then decide to investigate the subject further; as they make a documentary about their journalistic journey.
The movie is a very insightful (and educational) look, at how much those with a lot of money (and power) can get away with. It's involving, and always interesting; and at times it seems more like a legal thriller, than a film about an odd fetish. The material is disturbing, and often hard to watch, but it's also really well made. As far as documentaries go, this one is pretty fascinating (and informative).
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