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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I arrived at the local art house cinema expecting to see Weiner only to find that it played at 4:30 and 9:30. Tickled, a film I hadn't heard of was just about to start at 7:00 so there I was.
I have seen tickle videos on YouTube and elsewhere and always wondered about the economics behind these strange, professional looking videos. They weren't advertisements for subscription pay sites so what gives...
Tickled sheds some light on the economics and motivation behind them. Without giving anything away, I'd suggest that it is as creepy and malevolent a story as Foxcatcher. The head games played by Mr. DuPont and 'Teri Tickle' are frighteningly similar even if the results were very different.
Talking about the film with strangers as I left the theater: I thought my 'creepy' was better than any of the other adjectives mentioned. But when I talked about tickle videos being everywhere on the Internet, they might of thought that was creepy.
Too often in documentaries, the person with the microphone can be overbearing to irritation. The low key approach in Tickled makes the journey more interesting. It only heightens what unfolds on the screen.
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