Filmmaker Mike Tully recognized as Distinguished Graduate in the Arts 2014

by Erin Stewart, Social Media Editor

“First off, if you aren’t consumed with a love for movies, then don’t get into the film business period.”- Michael Tully

Distinguished graduate Michael Tully is an actor and director, known for Septien(2011), the comedy, Ping Pong Summer (2014) and Cocaine Angel(2006).

Tully’s film Ping Pong Summer, which was filmed in the summer of 2012 in Ocean City Maryland, is a coming-of-age story set in the summer of 1985, about a ping pong-obsessed teenage boy on a family vacation. This film was screened at the the Sundance Film festival. It also won an“Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature Film” at the Sarasota Film Festival.

Ping Pong Summer stars Susan Sarandon, John Hannah, Lea Thompson, Amy Sedaris, Robert Longstreet and Judah Friedlander. The cast also includes young actors Marcello Conte and Andy Riddle; Marylanders Myles Massey, Joseph McCaughtry, Helena Seabrook and Maddie Howard and Ocean City local Emmi Shockley.

Tully was awarded for these achievments at the 2014 Distinguished Graduate ceremony. He graduates from Linganore in 1992 and from UMBC in 1997.  During high school he was interested in directing, but not until senior did he know he wanted to do it for the rest of his life. During his high school career he was a part of the tennis team and played basketball for a rec team.

His favorite teacher, who inspired him to chase his dream is Miss Evans (now Mrs. Rebetsky). She saw promise in his writing. “It was really Mrs. Rebetsky, or Miss. Evans, as Icalled her, that led me to this successful place,” Tully said.  In addition to film, he reviews film on his blog, HammertoNail.

His recent film  Ping Pong Summer goes back to the 1980’s and brings back many of Tully’s childhood memories back to life. “I simply had a burning desire to see what would happen if I inserted my own life and obsessions as an adolescent—Ocean City, hip hop, ping pong—into the type of Hollywood comedy I grew up watching in the mid-1980s,” Tully said.

“I want to make a movie that I don’t know if it’s going to work. I want to take a risk with it. The only way it will be interesting or unique, you put a bunch of parts into a blender like tennis and basketball. It’s like these two don’t belong in a movie together and this is a sort of action against the system.” Tully added.

He was selected as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2006.

Tully sees himself doing more movies in the future and that he wants others to hear the same advice he got when he knew he wanted to be a director. “If you do love movies and want to make them, I have two pieces of advice: Watch tons of movies and sign up to volunteer as an intern or PA on whatever productions will have you. The only way to work your way in is by working, period.”

He said, “I was never in a position to not have a ‘day job’ and therefore couldn’t intern for free on productions while living in New York. I still believe that if you aren’t putting yourself out there in whatever capacity, you’ll never find your way into the film business. Who knows, once you realize how early the mornings and long the days are, you might actually not want to get into the film business after all!”