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2014 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Michael Tully’s Ping Pong Summer (Exclusive First Look!)

Clearly if Michael Tully receives an invite to Sundance this year, it won’t be for a return visit in the Park City at Midnight section. Moving from dramatic in 2006’s Cocaine Angel (Rotterdam, SXSW), to docu Silver Jew (2007 – SXSW), to the Sundance preemed atypical Southern gothic horror Septien (2011), the filmmaker (who runs one of our fave portals for American indie film worshipping – managed to lasso Susan Sarandon, Lea Thompson, John Hannah, Amy Sedaris, Judah Friedlander and Sundance vet Robert Longstreet (makes his second Tully film appearance) along with a cast of pre-teens for another 180° switch from his previous material. In something that should do the summer set coming-of-ager film done right and remind me why I Love The 80s, Ping Pong Summer and received mentorship/coin helping hands from the U.S in Progress and SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant and completed filming in late 2012. This is ready for some tournament action.

Gist: Set in 1985, Ping Pong Summer tells the story of 13-year-old Rad Miracle, a shy white kid who is obsessed with two things: ping pong and hip-hop culture. During his family’s annual summer vacation to Ocean City, Maryland, Rad makes a new best friend, falls in love, becomes the target of rich, racist local bullies, and finds an unexpected mentor in his outcast next-door neighbor. Ping Pong Summer is about that time in your life when you’re treated like an alien by everyone around you, even though you know, deep down, that you are as funky-fresh as it gets.

Production Co./Producers: George M. Rush, Nomadic Independence Pictures’ Brooke Bernard and Ryan Zacarias (I Used to Be Darker, Septien), Court 13’s Michael Gottwald (Beasts of the Southern Wild, Tchoupitoulas), Epic Match Media’s Billy Peterson (Shenandoah), Indie Entertainment’s Jeff Allard (The Violent Kind).

Prediction: This looks “retro-fitted” for either a U.S. Dramatic Competition  berth or Premieres cateogory showing.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available –

Michael Tully's Ping Pong Summer

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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