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  • PING PONG PLAYA in theaters Friday, Sept 5!!!

    Friday, Sep 5, 2008 1:43PM / Standard Entry

    TAKEN FROM JIMMY TSAI'S BLOG HERE


    EVERYBODY!!! CHECK IT: the new comedy from Oscar winner Jessica Yu - PING PONG PLAYA  opens September 5th in SAN FRANCISCO, SAN  JOSE, BERKELEY, LOS ANGELES, GLENDALE, ALHAMBRA, IRVINE and NEW YORK.  On September 12, the film opens in SEATTLE and HOUSTON!  Please spread the word and send email blasts!


    It's an exciting time--but here's where we need you. We'll let the movie speak for itself (if the reactions of people who have seen the movie is any indication, we firmly believe you won't be disappointed), but we need your help to spread the word about the release of the movie. 

    Independent movies don't have the marketing budget to compete against the mammoth studio movies, but what we do have is intense, strong word-of-mouth (just check out any of a number of our reviews--from outlets large and small, from critics, bloggers, and chat room posters alike). 

    We are encouraging groups of people to buy out blocks of seats on our first opening weekend in each of these cities.  Bring your friends, your family and your neighbors.  The film is for all ages. In San Francisco - on Saturday, September 6 - we have some groups of people buying out seats and in Los Angeles there will be groups coming to the Mann Chinese 6 and Alhambra.  We could use more people buying out seats on all of the other cities and every theater.  Our website: www.pingpongplaya.com 

    And if you know of any friends w/ websites or blogs that want to support the film by putting up our banner ads, please download here:


    Please help us continue to spread the word and come check out the movie opening weekend (Sept 5--LA/SF/NY; Sept 12--Seattle/Houston).

    HERE ARE THE LIST OF THEATERS - PLEASE CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS FOR TIMES AND TO BUY TICKETS.  SOME THEATERS WILL OFFER DISCOUNTS FOR GROUP SALES - PLEASE CHECK WITH THEM.


    SEPTEMBER 5, 2008

    NEW YORK (MANHATTAN)

    REGAL E-WALK (TIMES SQUARE)
    247 W. 42ND STREET (AT 8TH AVENUE)
    NEW YORK, NEW YORK  10036
    BUY ADVANCE TICKETS ON FANDANGO.COM

    AMC LOEWS VILLAGE 7
    66 THIRD AVENUE (AT 11TH STREET)
    NEW YORK, NY  10003
    BUY ADVANCE TICKETS ON FANDANGO.COM


    LOS ANGELES

    ALHAMBRA/PASADENA/SAN GABRIEL VALLEY
    EDWARDS ATLANTIC PALACE 10
    700 MAIN STREET
    ATLANTIC AT MAIN STREET
    ALHAMBRA, CA  91801
    BUY ADVANCE TICKETS ON FANDANGO.COM

    GLENDALE
    MANN GLENDALE EXCHANGE 10
    128 MARYLAND AVENUE
    GLENDALE, CA 91205
    BUY ADVANCE TICKETS ON MOVIEFONE.COM

    HOLLYWOOD
    MANN CHINESE 6 THEATERS
    HOLLYWOOD AND HIGHLAND
    6801 HOLLYWOOD BLVD.
    LOS ANGELES, CA  90028
    BUY ADVANCE TICKETS ON MOVIETICKETS.COM

    IRVINE
    EDWARDS UNIVERSITY TOWN CENTER 6
    4245 CAMPUS DRIVE
    IRVINE, CA  92612
    BUY ADVANCE TICKETS AT FANDANGO.COM

    SAN FRANCISCO
    AMC LOEWS METREON 16
    101 4TH STREET AT MISSION
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA  94013
    BUY ADVANCE TCKETS AT FANDANGO.COM

    BERKELEY
    LANDMARK SHATTUCK CINEMAS
    2230 SHATTUCK AVENUE
    BERKELEY, CA  94704
    BUY ADVANCE TICKETS AT LANDMARKTHEATRES.COM

    SAN JOSE
    CAMERA 12 DOWNTOWN
    201 SOUTH SECOND STREET
    SAN JOSE, CA  95113
    BUY ADVANCE TICKETS AT CAMERACINEMAS.COM

    Please check the www.pingpongplaya.com website often for updates.  There are already two parties taking place with the opening of the film.

    Friday, September 5 - Los Angeles with Climax Global - official after-party at CENTRAL HOLLYWOOD. Check our website for more details and address - meet the director and stars of PING PONG PLAYA. Bring your ticket stub for free entry before 11pm!

    Saturday, September 6 - San Francisco - Hyphen Magazine and Center for Asian American Media are creating an evening party for all ticket stub holders at Straits Cafe next to the Metreon. Party starts at 10pm!!!

    Again, make sure you check the website for current info and breaking news!

    Please spread the word and let's sell out the weekend!

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  • About the Film

    Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 8:15PM / Standard Entry

    Christopher "C-dub" Wang is a suburban guy who sports an urban swagger, waxes political on all things Asian American, and clings to pipe dreams of a career as a pro basketball player. Blaming genetics for his failure to make the NBA, C-dub lives at home, works a dead-end job, and squirms in the shadow of his older brother, Michael, a doctor and ping pong champion.


    With a family-run store devoted to all things ping pong and a mom who teaches it at the local Chinese Community Center, the Wangs’ entire world revolves around the sport. But despite the family legacy, C-dub opts to spend his free time playing video games and daydreaming about get-rich quick schemes with his best friend JP Money.


    C-dub is kicked back into reality when his mom and Michael are hurt in a car accident, leaving his father to watch over the store and forcing C-dub to take over his mom’s ping pong class of misfits. C-dub starts to appreciate the benefits of ping pong when he starts using the class to make some extra money on the side and befriending one of the kids who happens to have a beautiful older sister.


    But when the Wang family livelihood is threatened by a rival ping pong player’s attempts to lure the kids away, C-dub begins to take things more seriously. With the National Golden Cock Tournament coming up and an injured Michael unable to defend his title, C-dub must become the player he pretends to be and defend his family’s ping pong dynasty.

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  • DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

    Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 8:14PM / Standard Entry

    I entered filmmaking through the world of documentaries. My films have dealt with disability, outsider art, and former extremists renouncing their violent pasts. The logical choice for a first narrative feature might have been – oh, I don’t know, maybe an intimate drama about family dysfunction or a biopic about an obscure revolutionary poet. Instead we have here a comedy about ping pong. Consistency be damned. Making a film like this was a new adventure for me, and as a director it was one of the most pleasurable.


    As a fifth-generation Chinese American with politically active parents, I grew up with a strong awareness of my cultural identity. My very first film was a short documentary on San Jose’s Chinatown, where my grandfather grew up. I’ve wanted to tell more Asian American stories – ones that reflected my experience, which is probably a more relaxed and undoubtedly more privileged one than that of past generations. Somehow the right story and circumstances hadn’t come along until I met Joan, Jeff, and Jimmy (by the way, we don’t know what’s up with all the “J” names either).


    Joan, Jeff and I had become friends during the making of IN THE REALMS OF THE UNREAL, a feature documentary about the elusive outsider artist Henry Darger, when their company Cherry Sky Films came in to help with completion funding. Cherry Sky has been a supporter of many Asian American films, including Justin Lin’s hit, BETTER LUCK TOMORROW. The success of that film demonstrated that an Asian American film could be simultaneously daring, commercial, socially relevant, and above all, entertaining. So when Joan approached me about collaborating on a comedy, I was excited. In talking about it, we agreed that we wanted to capture something of the Asian American experience in a fun and subversively mainstream way. A popcorn comedy with a sprinkling of social commentary. I signed on, and in the fall of 2005 I started writing the script with Cherry Sky’s production accountant, Jimmy Tsai.

    I knew Jimmy as Cherry Sky’s amiable and efficient numbers cruncher, so I was floored when, at a screening some years ago, he showed some mock commercials for Venom, his fledgling sportswear company. The spots featured a brash, urban-styled, NBA wannabe named C-dub. The guy waxed political on Asian American culture, all the while dunking on nerds and little kids. C-dub was a fresh character: smart, profane, buffoonish, and hilarious. And he was played by an unrecognizable Jimmy Tsai.


    Jimmy didn’t sell any shirts that night (OK, I bought two) but he got huge laughs. Recalling that event, I proposed that the film revolve around C-dub’s character. Joan had the idea of setting the story in the world of ping pong. The mundane reputation of table tennis and the slacker thuggishness of C-dub seemed a fertile mix.

    As Jimmy and I began working, I was struck by how calm he was, given the possibility that his first acting role might be as the star of this feature. We had been hammering away at the outline for about a month when I made some comment about shielding him from writing duties during production. “Why?” he asked.

    “I’ll want you to be able to focus on acting.”


    “Acting?” His look was pure incredulity. “I think you better talk to Joan about that.”


    Turns out, Joan and Jimmy had no idea that I had assumed that Jimmy was the only one to play this role. It took a little convincing, but everyone involved agreed to give Jimmy a chance. He was C-dub. Happily, Jimmy turned out to be a natural; plus his “whatever it takes” attitude meant that he dedicated himself to months of ping pong training, vacuuming the office, designing props and other tasks, while still handling payroll and writing cost reports up to the last minute. Model minority behavior in action!


    Jimmy and I both saw in C-dub the chance for some healthy self-mockery in our generation’s navigation of the ethnic American experience. The oversensitivity of the politicized to perceived racist slights. The impulse to dismiss ethnic stereotyping, while simultaneously mocking those who fit the stereotypes. The resentment of non-“model minority” Chinese Americans, especially those who have older brothers who are doctors. We flavored the script with details from our own lives: the dad who sings Chinese opera while frying the breakfast Spam (mine), the grown man taking lessons at a Chinese school class of kids (Jimmy), the parent who insists everything was invented by the Chinese (all of us). At the same time we were happy to celebrate our pride in being Asian American and our awareness of our roots – in a way that hopefully doesn’t hit everyone over the head. From the start, we have wanted this to be purely fun.

    And in its making, PING PONG PLAYA has been that. Our fabulous producer Anne Clements helped us assemble a great crew and great cast of talented, hard workers. We enjoyed each other’s company and worked a little on our ping pong game. If I’ve learned one thing in this process it’s that table tennis is weirdly infectious. And if the movie inspires a few families to bond over the warped table in the garage, I’ll be happy.

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  • PRODUCTION

    Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 8:13PM / Standard Entry

    The origins for the original idea for PING PONG PLAYA essentially came from three different sources: 1) the character, Christopher “C-dub” Wang, as conceived by Jimmy Tsai in a series of web commercials; 2) the idea of a ping pong comedy by producer Joan Huang; and 3) director Jessica Yu’s idea to merge the two together. From this kernel of a concept, development on the script began in late 2005 with Jessica and Jimmy writing together.


    Approximately one year later and with the addition of producer Anne Clements, PING PONG PLAYA began rounding into shape for production. Several months before pre-production was slated to begin, the production team sought out both training for its actors and consultation on the world of table tennis via a renowned husband-and-wife coaching team with experience in both the worlds of cinema as well as international table tennis competition.


    The production team then focused on finding the other key actors to round out the cast. The search for the child actors, especially, proved to be a challenging one, as casting notices were put out in the usual places as well as in open calls and emails targeted towards local area schools and children. Though the first few weeks proved fruitful in finding and narrowing down choices for many of the adult leads, the same process unfortunately proved less fruitful in producing stellar candidates in the key roles of the three main child leads. It was only with just under three weeks left before cameras began rolling that, in a fortuitous coincidence, the production came across undeniable choices for all three child leads.


    After the final roles in the cast were filled out in the final week leading up to production, principal photography on PING PONG PLAYA officially commenced in March of 2007, shooting in various locations in and around Los Angeles, California. A complete store front (both interiors and exteriors) for Ping Pong Palace, the Wang family store, was erected in Altadena; a local high school gymnasium in Norwalk stood in for the East Hills tournament location; and the production even participated in an actual parade in the city of Monterey Park to stage the final scene in the movie.


    With filming completed in early May, post production immediately commenced, predominantly at facilities in Burbank, California. But the production also went truly international with over seventy CGI ping pong shots being created at Bulky Studios in Taipei, Taiwan.

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  • ABOUT THE CAST

    Thursday, Sep 4, 2008 8:12PM / Standard Entry

    JIMMY TSAI (CHRISTOPHER “C-DUB” WANG)

    Though technically a production accountant, Jimmy Tsai has been creating projects since his early teens, when the order of the day included everything from crime movie spoofs to commercials for the high school swim team. Jimmy’s latest filmmaking efforts include writing/directing another chapter in the THE VENOM SPORTSWEAR AD CAMPAIGN, a multi-media commentary on the state of children’s sports endorsement deals, as well as producing THE KILLING OF A CHINESE COOKIE, a documentary about the history of the fortune cookie. With writer John Choi, Jimmy has been selected as a member of the Fox Television Writer’s Program as well as a quarter-finalist for the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship. In addition to his many creative endeavors, Jimmy has also served as Director of Finance and Development for Cherry Sky Films, Business Development Liaison for SOFA Studio and Production Accountant on several features including Justin Lin’s FINISHING THE GAME and Quentin Lee’s ETHAN MAO.


    andrew vo (felix)

    At the young age of 11, Andrew Vo has established an impressive list of projects. In 2005, he began his television career with a recurring role as Ming Na’s son on the NBC series “inconceivable.” He has also appeared on several other shows including “Arrested Development,” “My Name is Earl,” and “Til Death.” In addition to his television work, Andrew also starred in the Paramount film YOURS, MINE, AND OURS as the role of “Lau,” one of Rene Russo’s several adopted children. His other film credits include roles in SANTA CLAUSE 3 and MAMA’S BOY.


    KHARY PAYTON (JP MONEY)

    Khary began his career doing stand-up in New York City. After moving to California he got guest starring roles on “Walker, Texas Ranger,” “The Shield,” “Justice League” and “JAG” before landing a co-starring role on ABC’s “Emily’s Reasons Why Not.” On the feature film side he has starred in HELLRAISER: HELLWORLD for Dimension and DRACULA II: THE ASCENSION. His independent feature credits include SWATTERS, LATTER DAYS and RED TIDE RISING. Khary can also be heard as the voice of Cyborg on Cartoon Network’s “Teen Titans” as well as a plethora of other animated characters.


    JIM LAU (MR. WANG)

    Jim Lau has been in show business for over twenty five years. His early screen credits include the finale of “M*A*S*H,” “Little House on the Prairie,” “St. Elsewhere,” “The Fall Guy,” and BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA, in which he acted and also served as Associate Producer and Martial Arts Consultant for the cult classic. Jim worked in the Hong Kong film industry in the 1980’s and 1990’s where he acted and produced films for Cinema City including one of the all time box office hits ACES GO PLACES III.


    His other credits include the recurring role of Mr. Fong in “Everybody Hates Chris,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Rodney,” “The George Lopez Show,” “The Nanny,” “The Simpsons,” “Mad About You,” and “The Larry Sander Show.” He also co-starred in many acclaimed television shows such as “House, MD,” “Boston Legal,” “Monk,” “The Practice,” and “Providence.”


    ROGER FAN (MICHAEL WANG)

    Roger Fan is one of the industry’s most interesting and exciting young actors, redefining the leading man aesthetic through a wide variety of projects and roles on film and on stage. Fan is currently the star of the upcoming Justin Lin comedy, FINISHING THE GAME (a hit at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival), which will have its national, theatrical release on October 2007 in partnership with IFC Films.


    Other starring studio film roles include Paramount’s BETTER LUCK TOMORROW, Disney’s ANNAPOLIS, and Touchsone’s CORKY ROMANO. In early 2007, Roger was honored with the “Distinguished Moviemaker Mentor Award” by The Creative Coalition alongside actors Joe Pantoliano and Lea Thompson. Most recently, Roger has just wrapped production on Judd Apatow’s DRILLBIT TAYLOR and Gene Rhee’s romantic comedy, THE TROUBLE WITH ROMANCE (Cinequest 2007). Roger also co-wrote, co-produced, and starred in the surprise, Sundance comedic hit, THE QUEST FOR LENGTH. While not working on film projects, Roger spends much of his time performing on stage. He has starred in various theatrical productions in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Ireland and works most intimately with the award-winning Lodestone Theatre Ensemble in Los Angeles.


    ELIZABETH SUNG (MRS. WANG)

    Raised in Hong Kong, Elizabeth graduated from The Juilliard School in New York and was invited to the Alvin Ailey Repertory Dance Theater. Her love of performance led her to train with renowned acting teacher, Sanford Meisner. It wasn’t long before she started working in plays, television, and film. Her memorable performances include THE JOY LUCK CLUB a series regular role on “The Young and the Restless,” as well as recent roles in MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, “Studio 60,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Crossing Jordan,” “House,” and “The Sopranos.”  In 2006 she participated as an actress in the Directors Lab at Sundance. Besides working in front of the camera, Elizabeth holds an MFA in directing from the American Film Institute. In addition, she is an alumna of the prestigious Directing Workshop for Women and was selected for the ABC/DGA Television Directing Fellowship in 2002.


    JAVIN REID (PRABAKAR)

    Javin Reid was born in Calcutta, India, and has grown up in Seattle and Los Angeles. He started acting professionally at age 5 in theatre, commercials and student films. Javin has played a hero on NBC’s series “Heroes.” PING PONG PLAYA is his third independent feature film.


    smith cho (jennifer)

    Smith Cho has an impressive list of acting credits. Culminating a busy pilot season, she booked two series -- as a guest star on the CW's “The World According to Barnes” and as a series regular on ABC's “The Hill.”


    Smith's television credits include series regular roles on ABC'S “Emily's Reasons Why Not” with Heather Graham and “MTV's Faking the Video.” Additionally, Smith has made numerous guest appearances in other series including “Entourage,” “Six Feet Under,” “ER,” “House,” “Boston Public” and “The Gilmore Girls,” and has appeared in over thirty national network television commercials.

    Smith's other feature film credits include a lead role in David VonAllmen's THE CANTINA BAR TALES, Columbia Pictures' BAD BOYS 2, Silverlake Independent Film Festival winner PIE IN THE SKY and most recently NORBIT, BLADES OF GLORY, THE LAST LULLABY and STARSHIP DAVE.


    PETER PAIGE (GERALD)

    Peter is best known for his five-year run on the hit Showtime series “Queer as Folk.” He has also appeared in guest-star and recurring roles on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Related,” “Will and Grace,” “Without a Trace,” “Girlfriends,” “Suddenly Susan,” and numerous others. In addition to his television work, Paige is an accomplished regional theatre actor who has performed nearly every genre of play from the Greeks to Shakespeare to contemporary work at major theatres across the country.


    His film work includes roles in CHILDSTAR, OUR AMERICA, and the cult favorite POP. As a director, notable credits include ME, MY GUITAR, AND DON HENLEY; FLORA, THE RED MENACE; THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH; TWELFTH NIGHT; and THE ACTOR’S NIGHTMARE. SAY UNCLE, Paige’s directorial debut feature film, stars Kathy Najimy, Anthony Clark, Melanie Lynskey, and Gabrielle Union, and was called, “an engaging and insightful entertainment with considerably more substance than most small-budget, independent… films,” by the LA Times. He is currently directing LEAVING BARSTOW by Kevin Sheridan and with writing partner Bradley Bredeweg has created and sold a one-hour scripted series for E! Entertainment.


    SCOTT LOWELL (TOM)

    Best known for his lead role of Ted Schmidt in Showtime’s groundbreaking series “Queer as Folk” for which he was twice nominated for the Prism Award. Other television credits include various voices on the Fox animated series “American Dad”, “On the Edge” (Showtime), “Alien Fury” (UPN); “Frasier,” “Caroline in the City” and “Early Edition.” Film credits include TO LIVE AND DIE IN DIXIE, PING PONG PLAYA, TRAPPED ASHES, THE DEBTOR$, LOVE BITES, LADIES ROOM LA, DAMNED IF YOU DO and OPUS 27. He recently appeared onstage at the Berkshire Theatre Festival in “The Heidi Chronicles.” Stage credits in Los Angeles include “Present Laughter” (Pasadena Playhouse); “Durang/Durang” (Hollywood Court); “Anna Christie” and “The Caine Mutiny Court-martial” (LA TheatreWorks). Chicago credits include “Light Up The Sky” and “A Christmas Carol” (Goodman Theatre); Picasso in the World Premiere run of Steve Martin’s “Picasso At The Lapin Agile” and “Twelfth Night” (Steppenwolf); 19 different characters in “A Perfect Ganesh” (Northlight); “Laughter On The 23rd Floor” (Briar Street); John Wilkes Booth in the Chicago Premiere of Sondheim’s “Assassins” (Pegasus, Jeff Citation – Production)); “The Chicago Conspiracy Trial” (Remains Theatre); “Much Ado About Nothing” and “King John” (Chicago Shakespeare); the World Premiere of the six-hour “Incorruptible” (Jeff nomination - performance), “Wild Honey” and “Orwell Down And Out” (Bailiwick Rep.). Also a writer, Scott currently resides in Los Angeles.


    STEPHNIE WEIR (CHERYL DAVIS)

    Stephnie Weir was raised in Texas and attended Odessa Junior College studying theater and broadcasting. Following that she went on to attend Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, were she studied anthropology and women’s studies. As she expanded on her creative talents in Chicago, Ms. Weir performed at the Second City’s Main Stage, the Goodman Theater, and at the ImprovOlympic. She and her husband, Robert Dassie, created a two-person show entitled “WeirDass” that they have performed in New York, Chicago and Edinburgh. Ms. Weir recently performed her one-person show entitled “Slowdeatha, TX” at the Comedy Central Stage.


    In Los Angeles, Ms. Weir spent five seasons as a writer/performer on “MADtv” (her final episodes aired last season). She was recently seen on the ABC comedy, “Big Day” (she portrayed the wedding planner, “Lorna”). In film, Ms. Weir appeared recently in FUN WITH DICK AND JANE and stars in several upcoming independent features, MOONPIE, EDEN COURT, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE TRACKS as well as PING PONG PLAYA.

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  • Christopher "C-dub" Wang is a suburban guy who sports an urban swagger, waxes political on all things Asian American, and clings to pipe dreams of a career as a pro basketball player...

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