Co-Founders Will Packer & Rob Hardy of Rainforest films will lead the charge as Film Producers to help stop the epidemic of bullying & abuse
You would have to be living under a rock these days if you are unaware of the epidemic issue of bullying and the destruction this type of abuse is causing in schools across the country. Beginning this summer, Rainforest Films is helping address this problem by teaming with the Saving Our Daughters book series (known for dealing with prevalent teen issues). Rainforest Films has released successful productions such as Obsessed and Takers and is scheduled to begin producing the film based on Steve Harvey’s bestselling book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man. They are also planning the Kemba Smith story (yet untitled) which is the dramatic true story of a young girl who made headlines after President Bill Clinton granted her clemency from a 24 1/2 year prison sentence for conspiracy to sell drugs.
“We can hardly begin to express the excitement in having some of the most extraordinary film producers as partners on our new bullying prevention initiative – Power of Words & Actions,” said Saving Our Daughters CEO and Author, Curtis J. Benjamin. “For years, Will Packer & Rob Hardy have been among our strongest supporters from the film industry. Rainforest Films’ support will help initiate and provide academic scholarships for teen girls associated with our Who Will Save The Little Girl? Book Clubs and interested in behind the camera production careers.”
What is the Power of Words & Action Bullying Prevention Initiative?
Power of Words & Actions Bullying Prevention (developed by community strategist and Saving Our Daughters COO, Tavia Pauling) adds momentous impact to the inspiring messages of the Saving Our Daughters Book Series. Power of Words & Actions is an expansive campaign to mobilize 50,000 girls and 250,000 adults with an oath to be informed and take immediate action to prevent bullying in their lives and around the world.
Saving Our Daughters is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that creates the tools to get teen girls discussing key issues and fired up to take the power away from bullying, date abuse, hate crimes, school violence, violence against women, and other esteem slayers.
For additional information and to join the initiatives, contact Saving Our Daughters at 866.437.5770 or visit www.savingourdaughters.org.
ABOUT WILL PACKER
Last summer, Producer Will Packer continued his shake up of the Hollywood charts with his heist film Takers, by continuing his incredible string of movies opening #1 at the box office. Three years ago, Daily Variety magazine was on the right track when they selected 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 2008, Packer and his business partner Rob Hardy were honored by Black Enterprise as one of the “Top 25 Money Makers in Hollywood.”
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.
Prior to stunning the film industry with Takers, Rainforest Films’ 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. Most recently Packer joined forces with Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III to launch the first ever over-the-air broadcast television network targeting the African-American audience. Packer wants to be clear that Bounce TV will not compete such networks as BET and TV One – yet it will provide free content for those who cannot afford cable. This summer, Packer is scheduled to go into production on Steve Harvey’s best selling book, Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man and 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 1/2 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.
ABOUT ROB HARDY
Rob Hardy is co-founder of the Atlanta based production company, Rainforest Films. Along with his business partner, Will Packer, Hardy has catapulted Rainforest Films into mainstream success earning numerous honors and recognitions.
Hardy began his career, during his Senior-year in high school, with the camcorder-shot movie G-Man. While pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering at Florida A & M University, he made the leap to film with the low-budget motion picture Chocolate City. This experience earned him the institution’s highest honor, the Bernard Hendricks Student Leadership Award, and shortly thereafter partnered with Will Packer to launch Rainforest Films. The underground buzz on Chocolate City led to his controversial film Trois. Hardy not only directed and co-wrote the thriller, he was also instrumental in self-distributing the project to be the fastest Independent African-American film to pass the million dollar mark. In 2003, after directing the critically acclaimed thriller Pandora’s Box, he added the role of “Producer” to his credits by collaborating with business partner Will Packer, to produce Motives. 2004 saw Hardy Executive Producing Trois: The Escort, and penning an “untitled Usher” project for MTV Films. Hardy then wrote and directed the spiritually themed drama entitled The Gospel, and produced the companion Gospel Live!. Executive producing Mekhi Phifer’s directorial film debut Puff Puff Pass, soon followed, before serving as Executive Producer of Stomp The Yard, which held the #1 position at the box office for two weekends in January of 2007 and received the 2007 Movie of the Year Award from the BET Hip Hop awards. Afterwards came Motives: Retribution and Three Can Play that Game.
Hardy’s hard-earned success has garnered a 2006 “Best Screenplay” (Black Movie Awards) nomination for The Gospel. The Hollywood Reporter (December 2002) listed him amongst the New Establishment of Black Power Brokers. Florida A&M University awarded him with the Meritorious Achievement Award, which is the highest honor bestowed on an alumnus. After which he received the inaugural Woody Strode / Paul Robeson Award of Excellence from his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
As a Director, Hardy broke into network television with his January 2008 directorial debut of the Emmy Award winning show ER. Soon after, Black Enterprise Magazine listed him among the Top 40 Entertainers under 40 (2008). After wrapping production on Stomp the Yard: Homecoming for Sony Pictures, Hardy returned to television with a directing stint on the CBS series Criminal Minds and subsequetly its spin off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior. In 2010 Hardy began directing episodes of Vampire Diaries and 90210 for the CW Network and Bones for FOX Television. Once again, his undeniable talent earned him another prestigious recognition, HBO’s Director to Watch Award.
Among many recognitions, Hardy was included on Black Enterprise’s 2007 Hot List of young change agents and then again on their 2008 list of Top 25 Money Makers in Entertainment. Most recently, Ebony magazine listed the dynamic duo among their Power 100 (January, 2011)
Hardy continued his network episodic directing with Criminal Minds and NBC’s Heroes (the webisodes). This year, he will continue directing episodes of Criminal Minds, 90210 and will add Single Ladies for VH1 to his list of projects. With several studio projects in development Hardy has also broken into reality television with his creating Sprite Step Off for MTV2. This summer (2011), Hardy will be executive producing the film adaptation of Steve Harvey’s best selling book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.
With several exciting projects in various phases of planning and production, there are still more great things to come from Hardy. Hardy and his business partner, Will Packer recently joined forces with Ambassador Andrew Young and Martin Luther King III to launch the first ever over-the-air broadcast television network targeting the African-American audience. Hardy completed studies at the New York Film Academy, and has begun directing commercial projects for clients, including: CNN, TBS (Turner Broadcasting), American Honda, Coca-Cola, Georgia Lottery and The National Cancer Institute. He serves on the Advisory Board for the International Feature Project (IFP) Film Lab series. He resides in Atlanta, GA with his wife and son.
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