HomeCommunity NewsEx-Neighbors Set Aside Dispute to Release Film

Ex-Neighbors Set Aside Dispute to Release Film

Former San Marino neighbors Jim Packer, left, and Chris Brown have created a documentary called “Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk” which will be released in theaters on Friday, June 7.

The debate has been going on for almost a half-century, and it’s unlikely to be settled anytime soon. It’s San Marino’s edition of the Hatfields and McCoys, but on a much more decorous scale.

It all began in 1971, when Betty and Jack Brown relocated from the East Coast to the West, setting up camp on Charlton Road.

Right next to the Packers, Jane and Jim. Among their many commonalities, the two families each had nine-year-old boys.

Chris Brown and Jim Packer enjoyed an idyllic life until they decided to build a treehouse between their two homes. The structure—built along the property line between the two homes—is long gone, but debate continues to rage.

“When you talk to Chris, he will confirm that I owned the tree house,” Packer said.

“If anything, he owned the air rights,” retorts Chris, who insists the tree was fully entrenched in Brown soil.

Former Charlton Rd. neighbors Jim Packer, left, and Chris Brown during their younger days. The two are still engaged in a dispute over a tree house that spanned their properties.

Before this edition went to print, each disputed the others’ ownership claim, proving that a strong friendship can withstand decades of opposing viewpoints.

Perhaps that will be the subject of film number 3, but until such time the Packer-Brown collaboration has weightier matters in mind. From tree houses, the pair maintained a 40-year friendship that spawned a new collaboration…launching documentaries. Their latest creation is making the rounds while receiving excellent reviews.

“Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk,” narrated by Bill Murray, debuted earlier this year at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The film will be in theaters around the United States, starting June 7, including the AMC Burbank 16 and other California theaters. (Find a theater at www.loopersmovie.com.) The story gives a full view of how caddying came to be and ties to numerous famous and not-as famous caddies, including many professionals, and professional golfers such as Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw and Nick Faldo.

In a moment of foreshadowing, Jim Packer, left, and Chris Brown point their cameras at a photographer during a trip to the beach. The duo has made two documentaries together.

The two former neighbors, who have remained best friends while living on opposite coasts, previously created “A Lego Brickumentary,” which was released in 2014. Unlike most documentaries, the film was sold for two times its budget and still has multiple revenue sources. Brown runs the private equity group, GEM, Global Emerging Markets, in New York and Paris is a private equity investor in New York while Packer has enjoyed a solid film career here in Southern California.

“Jim calls me six or seven years ago and says “Chris, I have a great idea,’” Brown explained. “He said, ‘I want to make a film about something that is applicable in every country you invest.’ I said, ‘What?’”

“Lego,” Packer said.

The film was later sold, clearing the lanes for their latest effort.

“Jim calls again and uses the same line,” Brown explained with a laugh. “He said, ‘I want to make a film about something that is applicable in every country you invest.’ I said, ‘What?’”

“This time he said, ‘Caddies.’ I said, ‘Golf caddies?’ Sounds a bit sleepy, but like Lego, golfers and caddies are applicable all over the world.”

“Loopers-The Caddie’s Long Walk” has received rave reviews and won its category at the Cleveland International Film Festival. The documentary is set to open in theaters on Friday, June 7.

Employing the same dogged determination he uses to claim ownership to the tree house, Packer stayed the course and with San Marino connections…secured Jason Baffa as the director and Clark Cunningham as a producer…and the film process began.

“He pitched me hard, so we did it again,” Brown said. “We held out for a long time for the narrator and got Bill Murray. Packer said its was worth the wait…He elevates the whole film.”

He’s right.

One of the first reviews of the film, from Film Threat, says “The Caddie’s Long Walk should have a solid audience among those who care about the sport. But the thing that will get it noticed outside of golf circles is that it is narrated by the most famous member of the Caddie Hall of Fame: Bill Murray.”

Jim Packer made it a point to secure Bill Murray to narrate “Loopers,” as the famed actor–a former caddie himself–resonates with golfers from his iconic role in “Caddyshack.”

Famous for his iconic role in “Caddyshack,” Murray has entertained generations of golfers with his antics on the screen and and on the course. He and his five brothers grew up caddying in suburban Chicago, a job that Murray states built a foundation for his comedy and acting career.

“We made the film because caddies are an amazing group of people and no one had explored the relationship between golfer and caddie or the history of the profession in any feature documentary,” Packer said. “Given the response, we were spot-on.”

The film is in nearly 100 theaters across 29 states throughout June and can be pre-ordered on Apple itunes now for release later this summer. It is screening this weekend at the Greenwich International Film Festival in Greenwich, Connecticut. Among those who will be in attendance? The aforementioned Betty and Jack Brown, who returned to the East Coast a few years ago to be closer to their five children and 18 grandchildren. The Brown name holds local historic relevance. Betty was a two-term member of the San Marino City Council, and was twice mayor. Jim’s mother, Jane Packer, and Betty are still best friends. Jim Packer, Sr., passed away several years ago.

“Without their support and their effort to keep our families close, this film would not have happened,” Jim Packer said.

But apparently not close enough to solve the great tree house debate.

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