King of Ping Pong

Director: Jens Jonsson
Screenwriters: Hans Gunnarson, Jens Jonsson

Institute History

  • 2008 Sundance Film Festival


In icy Sweden, 16-year-old Rille faces a daily grind, trying to get through life’s hassles with grace. Plump and moody, he’s the butt of many a school joke and only an onlooker where girls are concerned. Home life presents its own challenges: his single mom is dating a nerdy older man, his absent father (a professional underwater diver) is charismatic but undependable and usually drunk, and Rille and his younger brother, Erik, struggle to feel grounded in the domestic game of musical chairs.

Rille’s one refuge is ping pong. He’s an accomplished player and supervises a community ping-pong program for kids, acting as mentor and, okay, a sort of self-appointed king over his younger subjects. The entire formula of Rille’s life makes for a tenuous equilibrium, and this is threatened when family secrets are accidentally disclosed, setting Rille and Erik on an emotional collision course. But in his pained progress toward the chaotic adult world, Rille occasionally catches a glimpse of the possibility of surviving and thriving.

Director Jens Jonsson renders this delicate story with finesse and a quiet humor that infuses everyday drama, and even a few shocking moments of near calamity, with lightness and warmth. Outwardly quiet, but abuzz with emotional interest, King of Ping Pong is a lovingly etched portrait of the awkward years, certain to be familiar to many filmgoers.

— Shannon Kelley

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]