OCEAN CITY – A premiere of the long-awaited “Ping Pong Summer” will come to Ocean City in early June with specifics to come.
At the conclusion of last week’s Tourism Commission meeting, Tourism Director Donna Abbott announced a “Ping Pong Summer” premiere in Ocean City is in the works as Abbott collaborates with film producers in putting the celebration together.
“We are fine tuning it as we speak. I have spoken with the producer [George Rush] and we are looking at a couple of dates,” said Abbott on Tuesday.
“Ping Pong Summer,” filmed in Ocean City in 2012, premiered at Sundance Film Festival and in February was acquired by Gravitas Ventures, which will release the film to theaters and on Video On Demand (VOD) on June 6.
Once the news was released that “Ping Pong Summer” had been acquired, Rush assured holding a premiere in Ocean City was a priority.
“We are looking to do a premiere in the days leading up to that release date here in Ocean City at the Sun & Surf theatre, and right now it is just a matter of picking a date that would work, the location to have a party, and coming up with the pricing for tickets to have people attend,” Abbott said.
According to Abbot, a screening of the film is taking place in New York on May 30 and the time frame between the end of May and its release date is the target to have the premiere in Ocean City.
City staff is considering venues near the Sun & Surf theatre or the Roland E. Powell Convention Center as possibilities to host a “Ping Pong Summer” premiere party.
Whether there will be an actual red carpet at the premiere is among the details that need to be worked out, Abbott said.
“We are ready to bring a little Hollywood to Ocean City. We will definitely get the word out once we iron out the details,” she said.
A few of “Ping Pong Summer” stars are expected to appear at Ocean City’s premiere, as well as Rush and director Michael Tully.
“Ping Pong Summer,” written and directed by Maryland native Michael Tully, is 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 now. He is from Mt. Air, Md., and vacationed regularly with his family in Ocean City growing up.
In August 2012, both Worcester County and Ocean City agreed to contribute $100,000 each toward the production believing that the movie would be a boon for attracting visitors to the area, and filming began shortly thereafter.
“Ping Pong Summer” wrapped up production in Ocean City 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.
The film went into post-production in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Austin, Texas. The help of hundreds of people from the Delmarva region made the movie possible, which is the first motion picture in more than 25 years to feature Ocean City so prominently. The last was 1980s’ movie “Violets Are Blue,” a box office flop but local sensation that starred Sissy Spacek and Kevin Kline, among others.
Like “Violets Are Blue,” “Ping Pong Summer” drew heavily from the local experience and features several well-known landmarks.
Locals were also included in the film, many of whom played extras while native Ocean City resident and Worcester Preparatory School student Emmi Shockley featured into the story more prominently as the main character’s love interest.