Tallahassee, FL. – Florida A&M University (FAMU) graduate and film producer Will Packer will be the keynote speaker for FAMU’s homecoming convocation scheduled for Friday, November 2, at 10:10 a.m. in Gaither Gymnasium.
Honored by The Daily Variety magazine as one of their “10 Producers To Watch” in September 2007, Packer is co-founder and chairman of Rainforest Films. He is responsible for producing and overseeing the company’s studio financed and self-financed films and distribution projects. He co-founded Rainforest Films with partner Rob Hardy in the summer of 1994 while both were engineering students at FAMU. After graduating magna cum laude from FAMU with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1996, Packer decided to forego job offers in the field of engineering to capitalize on his entrepreneurial instincts and his passion for filmmaking.
His visionary and tenacious leadership fueled the production and successful independent distribution of the motion picture Trois, the company’s first film to be released theatrically. Trois grossed $1.2 million and became the fastest million dollar grossing film distributed by African Americans. Based on the company’s success as an independent distributor, Packer brokered a profitable partnership in 2001 between Rainforest Films and Sony’s Columbia Tri-Star to produce and distribute urban films. This partnership has resulted in Packer overseeing production and distribution budgets of numerous urban-themed releases including Motives and the independent breakout hit film, The Gospel.
One of their most successful projects, Stomp The Yard (Sony/Screen Gems), held the #1 position at the box office for two weekends in January of 2007. Stomp The Yard chronicles warring fraternities at a historically black college. Stomp The Yard stars R&B sensations Ne-Yo and Chris Brown, as well as rising stars Megan Goode, Columbus Short, and Brian White.
In 2008, Packer is slated to produce several projects, including Bone Deep, a movie about a Los Angeles. detective gunning against a hip band of thieves as they prepare a $20 million heist and the urban remake of the classic film The Big Chill.
Packer serves on the Board of Directors of IMAGE Film and Video, an Atlanta non-profit organization that exists as a support system for independent film and video artists. He also lends a substantial amount of time as a volunteer fundraiser for Readers Make Leaders, Inc., a nonprofit organization that encourages urban teens to read. He has been honored with the key to the city of St. Petersburg, FL, and “Will Packer Day” has been proclaimed in the cities of Chattanooga, TN and Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He is a dynamic and inspiring speaker who has delivered educational and motivational speeches to industry groups, as well as youth and community groups nationwide.
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