Cody Mathieson Packer

Sending Memories

Cody Mathieson Packer


1) What was your first professionally directed work and when was it? 

My first professionally directed work was for FCB Chicago in 2017. It was a Jack Daniels Honey spot done using a lot of influence from Edgar Wright and his hyper fast montages. It was a great opportunity to work with a large creative and account team, as well as learning the intricacies around working with alcohol.

2) How did you get into directing? 

I got into directing by experimenting with my parents camcorder in the backyard. My friend and I filmed ourselves playing cricket and wrote these cheesy game narratives and acted them out on camera. I then cut it all together on the home computer in Windows Movie Maker- it was hilarious. Then some teachers at my high school started a film club and a group of us collectively wrote a film, cast it and shot it around the community outside of school hours with their help. I came to try and love every part of the filmmaking process, especially bringing the entire vision together, so that naturally pointed me towards directing.

3) What is your most recent project? 

My most recent spot I directed is a narrative PSA for Stuttering Awareness Week in 2020 called "First Day." Being a person that stutters myself, I really wanted to bring an authentic, personal story to life for a cause close to my heart to help raise awareness to stuttering. It captures the anxious first day at a new school for a young girl who stutters leading up to her introducing herself to her new class.

4) What is the best part of being a director? 

There is nothing better than seeing your teams collective vision come to life on the monitor, in the moment you capture it. It is utter magic. I will never tire of that feeling. Another huge part of directing I love is learning more about my creative self every shoot that I do. That comes with pushing myself out of my comfort zone, not being afraid to try new things and also allowing myself to make the odd mistake because you learn so much from them. It’s what makes us human.

5) What is the worst part of being a director? 

No sleep and a busy, busy mind. When I’m in directing mode, it takes over and consumes me. In both good and bad ways.

6) What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.? 

Telling meaningful and emotional stories. At the moment I am floating in between the commercial and film worlds, but if I’m being honest, my true desire is to make films. I am absolutely obsessed with films. I am currently close to getting my first feature off the ground. I’ve spent the last four years writing it and finding the right people to make it. It’s a psychological thriller set in a glass house in the desert and involves a family that starts receiving mysterious videos of them being spied on by a video drone. It’s pretty twisted. Watch this space.

7) Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you? 

Sidney Lumet. His films and approach to directing.

8) Who is your favorite director and why? 

I don’t love these questions, my list is forever and always evolving based on new and old voices I’m exposed to. But I think the most influential directors to me and the films I aspire to make are Stanley Kubrick, Yorgos Lanthimos and Michael Haneke.

9) What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content? 

Cache, 12 Angry Men, Adaptation, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; the list goes on. 2001: A Space Odyssey projected on the big screen is one of the most incredible film experiences I’ve had.

10) Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?) 

I grew up in New Zealand in a small town called Kapiti. I played every sport under the sun, enjoyed drama, acting and of course filmmaking; it was a very fortunate and humbling upbringing I’m very grateful for. I studied Film and Television at the New Zealand Broadcasting School and then worked in the film industry in New Zealand, before moving over to Chicago to further my directing studies.

11) How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?

I think this pandemic has put a strange pause on everyones life, but like all things, they happen for a reason. I’m a huge believer in looking at every obstacle as an opportunity and using your energy to make the best of your situation from that. I think as hard as this pandemic has been, I think that has been the gift it has given us.


Contact Cody Mathieson Packer via email