Tickled, a new documentary film that played at Sundance last year, has debuted its trailer and, as the title indicates, the movie is all about men who like to get tickled. But as it turns out, there’s a lot more to this fetish sub-culture than meets the eye.
From the film’s description:
After stumbling upon a bizarre “competitive endurance tickling” video online, wherein young men are paid to be tied up and tickled, [Australian] reporter David Farrier reaches out to request a story from the company. But the reply he receives is shocking—the sender mocks Farrier’s sexual orientation and threatens extreme legal action should he dig any deeper. So, like any good journalist confronted by a bully, he does just the opposite and uncovers a vast empire, known for harassing an[d] harming the lives of those who protest their involvement in these films. The more he investigates, the stranger it gets, discovering secret identities and criminal activity. Discovering the truth becomes Farrier’s obsession, despite increasingly sinister threats. With humor and determination, Farrier and co-director Dylan Reeve summon up every resource available to get to the bottom of this tickling wormhole.
Yet even this overview cleans up some of what actually goes down in the trailer and the movie. The threats Ferrier received stemmed from the fact that he is gay. Variety reports:
But upon contacting these events’ producer, Jane O’Brien Media, for an interview, [Ferrier] was surprised to receive virulently homophobic responses (Farrier is an out gay man). This seemed ludicrous, since nothing could be more blatantly homoerotic than videos of mattress-bound youths being straddled and tickled all over by other handsome junior jocks. The long-distance insults rapidly took on a lawsuit-threatening nature. Now Farrier and his (straight) collaborator Reeve were intrigued enough to decide their inquiry might merit a whole documentary, despite (or because of) the intimidation tactics.
Watch the rather mystifying trailer, below.
Tickled opens in theaters on June 17.