St. Pete native, film producer Will Packer, shutdown production company

Will Packer, arts

BY SERRELL ROLLINS, Guest Columnist

Los Angeles — After 22 years of producing Hollywood blockbusters such as “Stomp the Yard,” “Think Like A Man” and “Ride Along,” St. Petersburg native, Producer Will Packer and his partner Rob Hardy have decided to close the doors to their film production company, Rainforest Films.

The decision came after a multi-million dollar lawsuit from company shareholder, Bernard Bonner, President and CEO of the Bronner Brothers Company.

Bronner allegedly invested more than $500,000 into Rainforest Films and says he’s only received a fraction of the amount of what he invested.

“Whenever I would seek to obtain financial records, I would be shutout and told that the company was making little to no money, despite how well the films were during. In fact, I didn’t receive any payments for all of 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2009,” said Bonner.

As a result, Bronner is suing the company for breaches of fiduciary duty, misappropriation of corporate assets and waste of corporate assets along with abuse of control.

The relationship between Packer and Bronner kicked off back in 1994, when Rainforest Films was still in its building stage. Packer and Hardy were studying engineering at Florida A&M University and needed investors to kick off what was known as one of the leading film production companies that’s collaborated with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

In a statement released by Packer and Hardy, the duo expressed their selves on the matter, “Me and Rob are grateful for the partnership we had with Mr. Bonner. He was a great help at a very pivotal time during the growth of Rainforest. However, his lawsuit against the company is personal and petty.”

Supporters of Rainforest Films are saddened by the news that the company has decided to dissolve. Rainforest was more than just a film production company, but it was considered home, especially for past intern Brittany Horton.

“I cannot begin to tell you how much I’ve learned and grown during my time with the company,” said Horton. “Rainforest wasn’t like any other internship I’ve had. It was always a family environment, kind of like a second home.”

The last film that is placed under the Rainforest Film title was “About Last Night” starring Kevin Hart and Regina Hall. All ongoing and upcoming projects will be placed under the newly formed Will Packer Productions.

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