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|Born||St. Petersburg, Florida|
|Born||St. Petersburg, Florida|
William Packer is an American film producer. With partner Rob Hardy, he founded production company Rainforest Films in 1994.
Packer was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida. In 1996 he graduated magna cum laude from Florida A&M University with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. It was there that he began filmmaking with colleague and future business partner Rob Hardy. Participating in an internship with veteran producer Warrington Hudlin propelled Packer toward the helm of self-financed and distributed films he would later go on to produce. He is the co-founder and chairman of Rainforest Films, a film production and distribution company based in Atlanta, Georgia. As co-founder he produces and oversees the company’s studio financed and self-financed films and distribution projects. Packer has been acknowledged on several high profile lists, including but not limited to, Giant magazine’s “The Giant 100”, Jet magazine’s “Who’s Hot To Watch in 2008 and Black Enterprise’s “Most Powerful Players Under 40.”
In 1994 Packer and Hardy produced their first film Chocolate City. The film did relatively well and earned them a small distribution deal. After graduating from college Packer moved to Atlanta, Georgia, which would soon become the birthplace of Rainforest Films. Packer and Hardy's vision was to make films that would appeal to black audiences who hadn't seen genre films starring people like themselves. Trois, the company’s first movie to be released theatrically, grossed over $1.2 million dollars and film became the fastest million-dollar grossing film distributed by African Americans. The success that came with his independent distribution of films did not go unrecognized. In 2001he brokered a very profitable deal with Sony's Columbia Tri-Star to produce and distribute urban films including but not limited to, Trois's sequel The Escort, and The Gospel and Motives . The film Lockdown, released under this Rainforest Columbia Tri-star collaboration, was one of Columbia Tri-Star’s top selling independent releases. Due to the success of this film William and Rob were listed amongst the "New Establishment" of Black Power Brokers in Hollywood. “This achievement landed Rainforest Films at the # 34 spot of Top 100 Film Distributors of 2000 listed by Hollywood Reporter (August 2001) , and resulted in the picture being in the Top 50 Highest Grossing Independent Films of the year according to Daily Variety (July 30, 2001). Rainforest films continue to produce one successful film after another. Rainforest films manage to diversify their casts with well established actors and actresses as well as those who are up and coming. This Christmas, a film about a middle class family that reunites at Christmas time for the first time in many years which opened a strong No. 2 at the box office on Thanksgiving weekend in 2007, stars veteran actresses Loretta Devine and Regina King, as well as R and B superstar Chris Brown who made his film debut in this film. Their biggest film to date Stomp the Yard has grossed over $75 million dollars worldwide since being released in Jan. 2007.
Packer is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He served on the board of directors of IMAGE Film and Video (now Atlanta Film Festival 365), a non-profit organization that serves as a support system for independent film and video artist. He invests time as a fundraiser for Readers Make Leaders, Inc.