OCEAN CITY – The Tourism Commission discussed the “Ping Pong Summer” movie on Monday, days ahead of its weekend premiere at a noted film festival.
In early December, it was announced “Ping Pong Summer” will be heading to the big screen this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival.
“Ping Pong Summer” was written and directed by Maryland native Michael Tully. The film is billed as a coming-of-age story set in the summer of 1985 about a ping pong-obsessed teenage boy on a family vacation to Ocean City.
Tully first started writing the script his senior year in high school and has been working on it for over 20 years. He is from Mt. Airy, Md. and vacationed regularly with his family in Ocean City growing up.
“Ping Pong Summer” shot in Ocean City in 2012 and wrapped production on Oct. 26, 2012, one day before Hurricane Sandy hit. The last shot was filmed on the iconic Ocean City Fishing Pier, which was severely damaged during the storm.
“Ping Pong Summer” drew heavily from the local experience and features a number of Ocean City spots like the Boardwalk, Trimper’s Rides, Paul Revere Smorgasbord, Anthony’s, Phillips Seafood, King’s Arms Motel, Old Pro Golf, the Greene Turtle and Hooper’s Crabhouse, among many others. Locals were also included in the film, many of whom played extras while native Ocean City resident and Worcester Prep student Emmi Shockley featured into the story more prominently as the main character’s love interest. Shockley will be among the local group headed to Sundance this weekend.
Sundance Film Festival takes place through Jan. 26 in Park Place, Utah. “Ping Pong Summer” will premiere Saturday, Jan. 18, at 11:30 a.m.
Also, recently it was announced “Ping Pong Summer” was rated 11th out 15 Most Buzzworthy Films of Sundance 2014 by Sundance Channel. The movie will premiere next at the International Film Festival in Rotterdam on Jan. 26.
Tourism Director Donna Abbott asked the commission if there were any ideas in how to promote “Ping Pong Summer” when or if it hits theatres.
According to Commission Chair Councilwoman Mary Knight, Ocean City’s advertising agency suggested using free social media outlets and the town’s website, OCocean.com, prior to dedicating funding toward advertising the film before it is known if the film will be distributed.
“The buzz is already out there with it being premiered at a nationally known film festival,” Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melanie Pursel said.
Abbott added there had been talk with producers in holding a premiere in Ocean City and in promoting that event the film will be advertised.
“It could be a couple of years before it is even released. We don’t want to burn it out,” Mayor Rick Meehan said.