Arts Desk

Lost in Location

When it comes to bringing big film projects to D.C., the Office of Motion Picture and Television Development hasn’t exactly made it rain. Movies and TV shows do shoot here, but usually only for a day or two; after directors have collected the necessary exterior shots, they return to Maryland, Virginia, or other states whose moviemaking subsidies make them more attractive places to film than the District.

Still, the film office has tried to get some attention. In 2011, it inaugurated the One City Location of the Month, which has highlighted sites around the District that local officials think could be useful on-screen. One problem: Of the 21 places selected by the film office, only four have been used in feature films—and those examples are all from before the sites were named Location of the Month.

Clearly, it’s Hollywood, not us. To help filmmakers out, here are a few suggestions for movies that could be made at the film office’s favorite locations.

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  • ThomDC

    No, it is not Hollywood, it is us, particularly Crystal Palmer (the wife of former council bad joke Harold Brazil, remember him.) Palmer probably more singularly represents what is wrong in Washington government then any other individual.

    Palmer was head of the Motion Picture and Television Office for 20 years during which time she did nothing, unable to master the simplest functions like easy permitting. She never seemed to get the simple idea that lost time is lost money when you have 100s of thousands of dollars in production crews idling while Palmer et al throw Hollywood attitude, disappear, and just generally screw things up.

    Meanwhile, while Palmer was developing her specialty in junkets to the west coast to swan about collecting swag bags and becoming a bad joke and pariah other jurisdictions were developing aggressive, sophisticated, mechanisms to attract production. Palmer not only didn't nurture the progressive, she failed to do the easy and obvious.

    The film office under Mayor Fenty was really making progress turning things around until the Gray mess made the worst mistake of many by unbelievably reappointing this dunderhead. The word unconscionable comes to mind. It wasn't long (amazingly fast in retrospect) until the word spread in Hollywood and hotel rooms in Balmo and Philly started filling up again. In many of those rooms I understand altars have been erected to thank Loraine Green for her wisdom in restoring her sorority sister to her sinecure.

    What makes all of this more difficult to take is that in so many ways DC should have a vital film and TV production industry apart from just the number of scenarios set here. Washington has more theater seats then any city in the world other then New York and on many nights you cannot buy a seat. Attendant to that is a vast army of support, actors, directors, designers, choreographers, etc. DC is home to what for a long time was considered the finest academic theater arts program in the country at CUA founded 75 years ago by the late, great Fr. Gilbert Hartke. DC is the principal city of the political media as well.

    One could make the argument that only some one with Palmers aptitude could screw something up which is such a natural. But make no mistake, the fault is ours in the person of the sorry excuse for a leader that is Vince Gray. However, no matter how pathetically pu@@ywhipped Gray is it is our responsibility that this tragic, costly error be rectified. Mr. Gray, fire Crystal Palmer!