How Tickled director David Farrier's latest film Mister Organ took over his life

Documentary filmmaker David Farrier says he never contemplated the lasting effect his latest film's subject would have on him.

The former Newshub journalist's Mister Organ opens in cinemas on Thursday as his first film since 2016's critically acclaimed Tickled.

Farrier has always had his interest piqued by the weird and the wonderful, and his newest film is the latest textbook example of 'weird' as he investigated one Mr Michael Organ.

In 2016, Organ gained infamy by clamping cars in the car park of Bashford Antiques on Ponsonby Road in Auckland and charging those clamped exorbitant fines to let them out.

Intrigued by this behaviour, Farrier dug into his background, which set him off on a five-year journey into the dark and bizarre world of Mister Organ.

Farrier says once he began investigating, he discovered Organ had "so many victims" from over a long period that started decades earlier.

"If there was an iceberg metaphor, the tip of the iceberg was the clamping - the film is about all that shit under there and that's the stuff I didn't expect, and I didn't think that would happen," Farrier told Newshub.

"The number of people involved in his life, that he's sucked in... it's insane."

Farrier said he hadn't been prepared for the effect his latest subject would have him on - even after the project was completed.

"He was sucking me into his world. [I thought] I'm making a documentary, I'll be fine. I'll just turn up, I shoot some stuff, eventually I'll get some answers, sit with my editor, put the soundtrack on, a bit of voiceover, [and it'll be] sweet," he said.

"But no. He was working on me the entire time in a way I didn't even understand. To the point that when now I hear his voice again, I'm instantly crying."

While the film is about to premiere in New Zealand, it's already played at Fantastic Fest in Texas in the US in September.

Several film critics published reviews and social media responses at the time, branding it "incredibly stressful" and "a darkly funny, highly disturbing documentary about a pathological liar".

Farrier was a journalist at Newshub - which was formerly 3 News - from 2006 to 2015.

Following Tickled, he released the Dark Tourist series on Netflix in 2018. He publishes written journalism on his Webworm newsletter and hosts a weekly podcast called Flightless Bird released via Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert network.

Mister Organ is set to open in selected New Zealand cinemas on November 10.