Keynote Speaker – Will Packer
Three years ago, Daily Variety magazine was on the right track when they selected Will Packer as one of their "10 Producers to Watch." Since then, Packer has produced four films for theatrical release, 3 of which have opened at #1. Packer has also been acknowledged on several high profile lists including; Black Enterprise's "Most Powerful Players Under 40", JET Magazine's "Who's Hot To Watch" and Giant magazine's "The Giant 100". 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" and early 2011 Ebony magazine recognized Packer and his business partner, Rob Hardy, on their prestigious list of "Power 100."
2011 was another monumental year for Packer. In addition to wrapping production on the film adaptation of Steve Harvey's best selling book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man. Think Like A Man opened #1 at the box office and stayed #1 for three weeks. Think Like A Man is Will's highest grossing film to date. Packer joined forces with Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III to launch BOUNCE TV, the first ever over-the-air broadcast television network targeting the African-American audience.
As Co-Founder and Chairman of the Atlanta based production company, Rainforest Films, 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 his 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.
Packer recently shook up of the box office charts with his heist film Takers (2010) and continued his impressive string of movies taking the #1 spot. Packer's other number one films under the Rainforest Films' umbrella include: Stomp The Yard (2007) and Obsessed (2009) both held #1 positions at the box office. Additionally, Stomp The Yard held #1 for two weekends and received the 2007 Movie of the Year honors from the BET Hip Hop Awards while Obsessed was Sony/Screen Gems second highest opening in company history and holds the title of the biggest opening ever for a last-week-of-April release. Shortly after, Packer enjoyed the success of his holiday film This Christmas, which grossed over $50 Million worldwide. With several exciting projects in various phases of planning and production, there are still more great things to come from Packer. Packer will soon produce the yet to be titled Kemba Smith story, a dramatic true story about young girl who made headlines after President Bill Clinton granted her clemency from a 24.5-year prison sentence for conspiracy to sell drugs.
Under the Rainforest Films umbrella, Packer and Rob Hardy, partnered with Sprite to produce Sprite Step Off, one of MTV2's highest rated shows of 2010.
Mr. Packer is a dynamic and inspiring speaker (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SgH8kTsPJQ) 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.