Ping Pong Summer is a coming-of-age comedy centered on a summer vacation to Ocean City, MD in 1985, ping-pong, and hip-hop. The cast of the film includes stars like Susan Sarandon, Lea Thomson and John Hannah.

In order to be a realistic coming-of-age story, most of the teenage leads are non-professional actors. The idea was to find typical teenagers so that they could accurately portray, by sheer personal experience, the reality of adolescence. George Rush, the film’s producer says despite being non-actors the teens cast all, “have charisma, and the right look.”
“We don’t want this to be a parody; we want it to illustrate authentic 1985,” explained Rush.
The other central character in the film, perhaps even more so than the teens that carry the film or the star power behind it, is the Town of Ocean City, MD. In Writer/Director Michael Tully’s mind, this movie always had to be filmed in Ocean City, because it is Ocean City.
“Writing a movie like this, you aren’t supposed to be location specific. You are supposed to go and shoot where it’s cheaper, which is why so many ‘New York’ movies are actually shot in Vancouver,” explained Tully.
But in this case, authenticity in location proved to be key.
“Ocean City is as defining an element of the film as the characters,” added Tully.
Rather than having to recreate an entire town to illustrate the era accurately, as many film productions must do, Ping Pong Summer is able to use the timeless backdrop of Ocean City, and many of the locally owned businesses that have been in place for decades, to create Tully’s vision. Using as many authentic locations as possible will really help to give the film a real sense of place.
“Ocean City has a timeless, nostalgic quality to it. It lends itself to a period piece quite well,” said Rush.
Ping Pong Summer - Ocean City, MD - CastIt isn’t too often that a movie is filmed on the Eastern Shore. The last was Runaway Bride, in Berlin, MD, a decade ago. Area locals were beyond excited to learn that a new production would be filmed in their home towns. As mentioned before, Tully’s film stars a young cast—all from Maryland and Virginia, and features Ocean City, MD native Emmi Shockley as the female lead. 
Shockley was in Baltimore working on an independent film when she was told there was going to be a movie filmed in Ocean City.
“It was just too perfect for someone who wants to be an actress – a movie that is shooting in my hometown,” recalled Shockley.
But having missed the auditions, Shockley thought she lost her chance. Willing to give it a shot anyway, Shockley emailed her interest, and ended up on a series of auditions, met Tully, and got the outcome she had hoped for—a starring role in a movie about her hometown.
The cast and production crew wrapped up filming the day before Hurricane Sandy traveling along the East Coast. The crew is working on editing footage and solidifying the production. Ping Pong Summer is set to release in 2013.
Want to know more about the famous cast? The new actresses and actors? The production crew? Or where scenes from Ping Pong Summer were filmed? Check out the ShoreBread articles below for more information: 
Photos by Ami Reist.