“Who knows?”: Dylan Reeve on the aftermath of Tickled

5 years ago
Sharona Lin

There’s nothing I love more than a good mystery, and David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s documentary Tickled is a damn good one. It’s been weeks since I watched it, and I Google it at least once every couple of days – just to see if anything new has developed. Dylan Reeve was kind enough to answer some of my burning questions about the film – just be warned that there are some spoilers ahead.


I really admire how tenacious you were in the pursuit of the story. Especially when the legal threats were getting serious – I was honestly stressed out watching it. Were there any points you almost called it quits during the process?

There were probably a lot of points where one or the other of us felt that it might be better, or easier, or smarter, to stop. Whether it was because of legal threats, or just because the whole thing seemed a little insurmountable and more trouble than it was worth. This is one of the reasons it was great that David and I were a team on the project. I think if either of us had tried to go it alone we may have given up, but as it was we were able to egg each other on.

And then even after the film was shot there were questions about how, where and when we’d be able to release it. Suffice to say that, in general, it’s really difficult to make and release a documentary about people who don’t want a documentary made.

The entire saga just kept getting more and more out of control and intricate. Is there any specific moment when you were like: “okay, this is it, this is a film”?

The point that always stands out most is when Jane O’Brien Media flew three representatives half way across the world to tell us not to make a film. I mean you have to be on to something if they’re trying that hard to make you stop, right? We were already on our way to making a film by the time that happened, but that really made us sure it was going to be something pretty interesting.

"Competitive endurance tickling"
“Competitive endurance tickling”

I’ve also read a bit about Dexx Jones – has he reached out to you at all? Can you explain a bit about his part he plays in the big picture?

Dexx Jones is a pseudonym, but at this stage there’s not really much more we can say about him.

Obviously there are still ramifications from the film – your screening was crashed by David D’Amato and one of his posse. And you mentioned to me on Twitter that you can’t let the Tickled mystery go – are you and David still working on any follow-up material?

Having D’Amato appear at the LA screening was completely crazy. In no way at all does it make sense as far as I can see. I still don’t understand quite why they did that, or what they thought they would achieve. The other aspect is that both Kevin and D’Amato are New York residents, and despite the fact they knew that my co-director David was hosting a similar Q&A in New York, they chose to come to LA to confront me. Why?

As for the ongoing tale. It’s nebulous – you know as an audience member that the story sort of sticks with you. David and I have that same experience, but even more so. And since the film came out we’ve been pretty regularly hearing from people with stories to tell.

I have absolute no doubt there’s even more to this story than what we’ve be able to tell in Tickled, but as for whether there will be a follow-up – that’s definitely not certain. It’s difficult to know how, where or when we’d be able to tell that story. We can’t rule anything out, but we’re not committing to anything either.

I’ve been Googling the movie weekly since I watched the film to see if any more information has popped up, and I feel like a lot of people feel the same. What happened after they crashed the film? Have you tried to rebut their ‘Tickled Info’ site at all, or are you not engaging? Do they still contact you? Is there real legal action pending?

There was a little flurry after the confronted me at the screening. Around the same time ABC’s Nightlight show as doing a story about the film and what we’d uncovered, so they managed to capture some of that strange Q&A and also spoke to Kevin about their side.

The .info site is interesting. It sort of delighted us in a way – there’s the sense that it’s a bit like the tactic that Scientology takes with their criticisms. But it seems to have gone quiet recently. We’re generally not engaging with their claims – there’s really no point in arguing about it. People can watch the film, then look at the site and draw their own conclusions if they want. We’re certainly pretty baffled by some of the points they seem to cling on to and the claims they make.

The legal situation seems calm for now, but nothing is settled or ruled upon and the last we heard (at the LA screening) was that claims were going to be re-filed, and worse was to come, so who knows?

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