Many people have heard of dogging, or know places where it apparently happens, but very few know what goes on in this secretive world. Dogging Tales, is an intimate and compelling documentary told through doggers themselves, who share their experiences of a mysterious, little understood neck of the woods.
Filmed over ten months, the documentary follows a range of people whilst attempting to gain insight into why men and women engage in or watch sexual activity in front of strangers in public areas under the cover of darkness.
Part of the True Stories strand, showcasing the best of feature length documentaries, Dogging Tales is directed by award-winning photographer Leo Maguire – who made his critically-acclaimed debut in 2012 with Gypsy Blood: True Stories (Best Newcomer at Grierson Awards, Bafta-nominated for Photography).
The first interviews with doggers take place in the ‘real world’ – as their day draws to a close and they consider their life, families and relationships. As they prepare to go out they begin to slowly shed their daily personas in anticipation, and Maguire accompanies them on excursions to lay-bys, woods and picnic spots around the UK that often double as dogging locations after dusk.
Going beyond the ‘caught in the act’ image often portrayed in the media, the documentary delves into the physical and psychological realm of dogging. The characters allow themselves to be filmed during their sexual encounters but, in subtle yet revealing interviews, they also open up about their attraction to dogging: how they were introduced to it; why they may feel a lack of fulfilment without it and how their relationships are enhanced or damaged by it. Not just about sex or fetishistic behaviour, this is a human story about alter egos, connections and acceptance.
With a cinematic quality, this beautifully shot, distinctive film captures the intimate night-time journeys that few people see or experience, but that allow this covert community precious escapism, excitement and self-discovery.