VIZ Pictures, an affiliate of VIZ Media LLC that focuses on Japanese live-action film distribution, has announced that it will join with Miami Dolphins’ star defensive end, Jason Taylor, to support his annual charity table tennis event - JT’s Ping Pong Smash 4 - taking place Monday, December 17 at the Seminole Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood, Florida.
The popular event is a unique tournament in which athletes and celebrities are paired with charity donors for an exciting night of doubles ping pong matches. Other celebrities scheduled to attend and participate include Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas and former Montreal Expos and Chicago Cubs great Andre Dawson. All proceeds raised will benefit the Jason Taylor Foundation, which supports South Florida’s children in need. Earlier this year, VIZ Pictures released the critically acclaimed film PING PONG, from director Sori Fumihiko, which explores friendship and the nature of competition and rivalry against the backdrop of a middle school table tennis team. As part of its sponsorship, VIZ Pictures will supply PING PONG DVD’s and posters for the gift bags to be given away to celebrities and tournament attendees.
PING PONG is based on a popular 5-volume comic by bestselling artist Taiyo Matsumoto, who created several acclaimed youth-driven manga titles such as TEKKONKINKREET: BLACK & WHITE, NO.5, and BLUE SPRING (all published in North America by VIZ Media). Director Sori Fumihiko, who also notably worked as an effects supervisor for the movie, TITANIC, went to great lengths to preserve the visual style of the original manga in the film, which ultimately was nominated for eight Japanese Academy Awards in 2003. Actor Shidou Nakamura also won the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ award for his performance as Dragon, a rival of the two main characters. PING PONG was a favorite at a the Montreal Fantasia Film Festival, the Philadelphia Film Festival, The San Diego Asian Film Festival and the New York Asian Film Festival, where it was the Audience Award winner. The DVD was released in September and is distributed by VIZ Media.
‘We are excited and privileged to team with NFL superstar Jason Taylor to help sponsor JT’s Ping Pong Smash 4 and highlight our recent release of PING PONG on DVD,’ says Manami Iiboshi, Director, Marketing for VIZ Pictures. ‘The opportunity to use the sport of table tennis for such a worthy cause and spotlight a heartwarming film about friendship and competition is an ideal match for the holiday season and we are excited to participate. This will be a fun evening with plenty of action to keep you on the edge of your seat and we look forward to people coming out to lend their support and the opportunity to take home this unique film.’