Righteous Cause / Cool Swag

Summer Indie Movie Challenge

<i>Ping Pong Summer</i>
Ping Pong Summer

It ain't easy being indie in the season of superheroes and special effects extravaganzas, and every summer small but very worthy films slip through the cracks, into the sinkhole of the latest apocalypsescape. Here's a fun way to even the score: This summer, give an indie film a hand, and they'll high-five you with nifty prizes right back. Win-win, right?

Four particular indie films, in fact: Austin filmmaker Michael Tully's Ping Pong Summer, an Eighties-set coming-of-age comedy combining hip-hop, table tennis, and Susan Sarandon in high-waisted pants (debuts June 6 on VOD, Austin theatrical date TBD); Hellion, a much darker coming-of-age story from another Austin-proud filmmaker, Kat Candler, and starring Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, and breakthrough young actor Josh Wiggins (debuts June 13 on VOD; opens in Austin June 27); Megan Griffiths' Lucky Them (on VOD now), which stars Toni Collette as a jaded rock journalist investigating the disappearance of a musician, who also happens to be her ex; and Obvious Child, Gillian Robespierre's super-buzzy abortion romantic comedy starring Jenny Slate (opens in Austin June 20).

Here's how the Summer Indie Movie Challenge works: You watch all four participating films, post photos of your ticket stub or VOD receipt to Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #summerindiemoviechallenge, email proof of your social media wizardry and your mailing address to summerindiemoviechallenge@gmail.com, then kick back and wait for your rewards, which could be anything from movie props to signed posters to ping-pong balls. Free shit is great – yes, absolutely – but there's a less tangible prize in the proverbial Cracker Jack box, which is the reminder, as Tully puts it, "of the secret, hidden, irrefutable truth: independent cinema is where it's at." Totally righteous.

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