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Academy and Sundance announce “Academy Conversations” series

As part of the “Academy Conversations” series, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Blackhouse Foundation will present a conversation with one of Hollywood’s most innovative and entrepreneurial film producers, Will Packer, on Saturday, January 19, at 3:30 p.m. at Buona Vita in Park City, Utah. This is the first time the Academy has participated in a program at the Sundance Film Festival.

Moderated by Brickson Diamond, chairman of The Blackhouse Foundation, the talk highlights Packer’s career path from magna cum laude electrical engineering graduate at Florida A&M University to prolific film producer, whose credits include “Think like a Man,” “Takers,” “Obsessed” and “Stomp the Yard.” Packer became a member of the Academy in 2012.

The conversation will be followed by an Academy presentation and reception at 5:30 p.m. addressing such initiatives as Awards qualification rules, filmmaker engagement, educational programs, festival grants and membership. Academy executives who will be offering guidance and advice include Randy Haberkamp, managing director of programming, education and preservation; Patrick Harrison, New York program director; and Torene Svitil, awards manager.

The Blackhouse Foundation works to expand opportunities for black filmmakers by providing a gathering venue for its constituents at the world’s most prominent film festivals, encouraging the inclusion of black filmmakers with films selected by the festival and creating a nucleus for continued support, community, education and knowledge.

Buona Vita is located at 804 Main Street in Park City. For more information, please visit


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