Documentary

Dinner 

With 

Packer

Since the mid-nineties, hundreds of "man on the street quotes" have been attributed to someone named Greg Packer. This name appeared so frequently in print that many people began to think that he was an invention of the news media – an inside joke amongst reporters.

But Greg is real – and he’s been actively seeking to be quoted in news stories for almost twenty years.

'Dinner with Packer' tells the story of how a retired highway maintenance worker from Long Island became one of the most quoted people in the media.

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2014 / 10mins / HD

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About The Film

first came across Greg Packer in 2011, while shooting my previous film We Will Forget. Greg was very present during that film's final scene in Times Square - I didn't know who he was, but it was clear he had come that day for the sole purpose of being on camera 

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(he made sure to position himself as close as possible to Robert for as long as he could).  At the time I figured he was just there to join in the mockery of Robert Fitzpatrick.  

 

Much to my surprise, a few years later my wife recognized Greg as being the first person in line at the release of the iPhone 5s.  After some internet research, I figured out who Greg was and (for obvious reasons) became very interested in his story.

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I met Greg for the first time during our first shoot with him - late at night at Benn's Deli, where Greg insisted we shoot.  He showed up a few hours late, having just travelled back from South Carolina via bus from a Bon Jovi concert.  We shot for several hours and (after Greg finished eating), I headed back up to Vermont to begin editing the film.

While in post-production, a different short film was released about Greg (the other film was shot around the same time as mine - Greg never mentioned to me or the other filmmaker that two shorts were being made about him).  I was initally pretty discouraged that I was beat to the punch, but I ended up deciding to to some further shooting with Greg and dig a little deeper to find the emotional center of the story.

In my mind, the resulting film works perfectly as a companion piece to We Will Forget - both films have similar structures, and ultimately deal with similar themes.

This was the last film I cut in Final Cut Pro 7 before reluctantly switching to Premiere Pro and was shot primarily on the Canon T3i and Canon 7D.  The music was a collaboration between me and Karl Hohn, making use of some older sample-based sketches I had done, and Karl's pleasant guitar playing.  You can listen to score here.

Greg continues to try to get quoted in the news, and regularly attends large events.  I don't know that he ever watched the film.

Dinner With Packer was released online in early 2014.

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Copyright 2018 Garret Harkawik