Former Mediaworks journalist David Farrier should be tickled pink by the response to his debut documentary at the Sundance Film Festival.
Farrier, who recently left the broadcaster and his role on late night show Newsworthy, premiered Tickled at the prestigious Utah-based annual festival on Monday evening NZ Time.
A documentary that explores the world of “competitive endurance tickling” and boasts British comedian Stephen Fry as an associate producer, it has already received some impressive notices from renowned film industry magazines and websites.
Writing for Variety magazine, Dennis Harvey says that “what sounds like a fun look at a particularly outre subculture turns out to be no laughing matter”.
“David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s documentary traces the New Zealand duo’s investigation of an online tickling-video empire, behind which there lurks a monster of cyberbullying and litigiousness. An alarming cautionary tale about how easy it is in the Internet age to ruin people’s lives while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, the pic boasts a humorously titillating entry hook that soon gives way to engrossing conspiracy-thriller-like content.”
Predicting that the movie will sell well internationally, Harvey says “the well-shot and tightly edited pic manages to maintain a sense of humour without belittling its subjects, and glimpses a somewhat gamey underworld without descending into a tabloid-style shocking expose”. …
“At times his [Farrier’s] perky narration, half indignant, half tongue-in-cheek, and the confrontational, hidden-camera style of some of the film’s investigative sequences, remind us of one of those exposes British comedian/journalist John Oliver used to do on The Daily Show before he became too well-known.
“But there’s something else going on in Tickled too, something a little more cinematic. Part of this is a portrait of a lost blue-collar America, a post-Springsteen world where young men from no-hope towns try to scrape some money together by letting themselves be pummelled in Mixed Martial Arts bouts – or being tied down and tickled, on camera. If that sounds a little reminiscent of Foxcatcher, at least in mood, it is.”
Marshall predicts the film will find a cinematic release and revealed that Vendetta Films had already signed up to distribute the film in Australasia. No release date has so far been announced.
I have an interest in this film as I helped crowd fund it. The guy being exposed started threatening all sorts of legal action, so lots of people online contributed to help out.
This review gives a good idea of what it is about.