Written and directed by Maryland native Michael Tully, Ping Pong Summer is a coming-of-age story set in the summer of 1985, about a teenage boy obsessed with ping pong and the summer family vacation that changes his life. The talented cast includes Susan Sarandon, John Hannah, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris, Robert Longstreet and Judah Friedlander. Among the cast of young actors are Marcello Conte, Andy Riddle; Marylanders Myles Massey, Joseph McCaughtry, Helena Seabrook, and Maddie Howard; and Ocean City local Emmi Shockley.
Ping Pong Summer was filmed entirely in Ocean City in the fall of 2012. The last scene of the movie was filmed on the Ocean City Fishing Pier, one day before Hurricane Sandy hit the iconic beach town.
Since then, the film’s post-production process has taken it from New York to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin.
Ping Pong Summer was the first motion picture in over a quarter of a century to be made entirely in Ocean City. The local support for the Ping Pong Summer production has been so overwhelming that George Rush, the movie’s producer, expects to see many people from the Delmarva region at Sundance next year.
“Even though Sundance takes place at a Utah ski resort, we anticipate a big group from the Eastern Shore will attend the film’s premiere,” said Rush. “Our hope is to turn Park City into Ocean City.”
The director is just as excited as the rest of Delmarva residents. “As a proud Marylander and someone who grew up going to Ocean City every summer, my 20-plus year dream of shooting Ping Pong Summer in Ocean City and presenting the finished film to the world is about to come true,” shared Tully. “I couldn’t be more grateful for the support we received from the local community, and I couldn’t be more excited for this year’s Sundance!” Two of Tully’s earlier films were featured at the Maryland Film Festival in 2011 (Septien) and 2006 (Cocaine Angel).
Having worked on the script and idea for Ping Pong Summer for over two decades, Tully is thrilled that the movie is making its premier at one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.
“It’s only been 22 years of me talking about making this movie,” said Tully. “I had the idea for this movie when I was in high school at Linganore in ‘92. I went to college at UMBC and studied film, specifically for the purpose of making this movie called Ping Pong Summer.”
Since Ping Pong Summer is a low-budget film, it was truly the love and passion for the story from all involved that made the movie happen. “Everyone was really doing it for scale, doing it for the love of Maryland or the love of the script,” said Tully.
Ping Pong Summer will be featured at Sundance’s “Next” competition on Saturday, January 18, at 11:30 a.m. As described on the Sundance’s website, the “Next” category specifically showcases “pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling.”
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