Producer Will Packer 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 Florida A & M University. After graduating magna cum laude from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1996, Packer decided to forego lucrative job offers in the field of engineering to capitalize on his entrepreneurial instincts and his passion for filmmaking. His tenacious and visionary leadership fueled the production and led to the successful independent distribution of the company’s first theatrically released motion picture Trois.
Trois grossed $1.2 million dollars 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 between Rainforest Films and Sony’s Screen Gems to produce and distribute urban films. This partnership also resulted in Packer overseeing production and distribution budgets of numerous urban-themed releases that included titles: Trois: The Escort, Motives and the independent hit film, The Gospel. Next, Packer brokered a deal to produce actor Mekhi Phifer’s feature film directorial debut, Puff Puff Pass, before returning to Atlanta to produce the company’s first mainstream successful film, Stomp The Yard.
Packer’s films often include popular and entertaining actors and celebrities. There’s the 2007 holiday film, This Christmas, which stars Regina King, Loretta Devine, Columbus Short and Mekhi Phifer, there’s Obsessed, the femme-fatal thriller starring Beyonce, Idris Elba and Ali Later, and then there’s Takers, which has an all-star cast including Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Paul Walker and more. And of course, there’s the sleeper hit of the 2012, Think Like A Man. Not only did the film earn nearly $100M on a $12M budget, it starred heavyweights from across Hollywood and back.
This super producer has officially taken the film industry by storm. To date he has produced four films which opened #1 at the US Box Office and his films have collectively grossed over $300 Million worldwide. In 2007, Daily Variety magazine was on the right track when they selected Packer as one of their “10 Producers to Watch.” Packer states, “Receiving this honor was great validation for my burgeoning work in Hollywood. As the only African-American honored on this list, I accept the tremendous responsibility that this represents to make movies that matter as well as have commercial appeal.” Packer further states, “I look forward to continuing to promote imagery that has not traditionally been pushed by mainstream Hollywood.” He’s also been acknowledged on several high profile lists including; Giant Magazine’s “The Giant 100”, Jet Magazine’s “Who’s Hot To Watch in 2008” and Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Most Powerful Players Under 40.” In March of 2008, Packer and his business partner, Rob Hardy, were honored by Black Enterprise as one of the “Top 25 Money Makers in Hollywood”. Other honorees included Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Denzel Washington, Queen Latifah, Chris Tucker and Tyler Perry.
Packer is also a dynamic and inspiring speaker who delivers educational and motivational speeches to industry groups, as well as youth and community groups nationwide. 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 Fort Lauderdale, FL. Packer has also been honored with the Meritorious Achievement Award from his alma mater Florida A&M University, the highest honor the University bestows.
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