Arts Desk

Crystal Palmer Out at Film Office, Replaced by Herbert Niles

Chrystal Palmer

Crystal Palmer is out of her longtime job at the D.C. Film Office. Palmer has taken a position in the office of Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Victor Hoskins, where she will serve as senior adviser for special projects. Palmer will be succeeded, at least temporarily, by film office staffer Herbert Niles. Hoskins' office announced the change Friday.

Palmer's tenure at the film office attracted its share of criticism; she led the department for 22 years, from 1986 to 2008, when she was canned by then-Mayor Adrian Fenty. Kathy Hollinger was appointed film office director in 2008. When Fenty was voted out of office in 2010, incoming Mayor Vince Gray brought Palmer back into the fold.

As Ben Freed reported for Washington City Paper at the time, Palmer's return to the film office was met by groans from members of the local film community who said Palmer seemed aloof and unsupportive of D.C.'s homegrown film establishment. Under Palmer, the film office has also struggled to take advantage of the boom in television programs set in D.C., many of which film a small number of exterior shots in the District but otherwise shoot in places that offer more attractive financial incentives.

Herbert Niles previously worked as the film office's senior adviser for business development and strategic partnerships. His biography says he's worked in the entertainment industry for 20 years, including stints at BET and Orion Pictures.

Neither Niles nor Palmer immediately returned requests for comment.

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  • Julie Rones

    Kudos to Crystal Palmer. Her service as Director of the D.C. Motion Pictures and Television Office was highly commendable. At one point, she was highlighted as "Person of the Week" by [Fox Channel 5 TV?] for the value she brought to the District of Columbia in her capacity as Director of that Office. That recognition was partially in light of the economic development she brought to the District. The best of wishes to Ms. Palmer for her past service and well wishes are extended for her service in her new capacity.

  • Norma Desmond

    To paraphrase myself it would seem the picture still remains small. "Canning" is an overstatement, Palmer's incompetence has merely been moved horizontally. She will still collect a fat check for a no show job, a testament to her fealty to the sorority of pu**ywhippers who control Gray.

    Little bodes better for the film community. "Business Development", "Strategic Partnerships", what is that except boilerplate which in light of the nonexistent accomplishments of this office accounts for nothing. "BET", now that is something even less praiseworthy. Having been party to reducing one of the most potentially powerful tools of the black community to a porn
    station for the enrichment of Bob Johnson is not something positive.

    Perversely, word is Palmer got canned for supporting the findings of two studies commissioned by Councilmemer Orange's committee which point to the tremendous economic development potential inherent in film and television production in the District. Apparently, Gray et al don't get it, intent instead on their commitment to minimum wage jobs in retail and service. Gray knows if you keep folks poor and scared you keep them dependent on Uncle Sugar.

    Whether Gray gets nailed for his dirty campaign (because it stands to reason thaAt the likes of Jeffrey Thompson would spend 600 thousand of his own money "hoping" the candidate would find out and with no commitments) he needs to go. He is out of fumes from the William's administration to tout as his success. Gray is narrow, pedantic, dishonorable, so who needs him.

    The question is who among the stable of contenders is ready for their close up? It would seem both Wells and BowWowser are challenged in the brains department, with troubling aspects of their persona that can't bear strong light, doubly troubling in BowWowser's case given the strength of the gay vote in DC and the fact it is 2013.

    That leaves Jack Evans as the only possible sane choice.

  • Norma Desmond

    @Julie Rones

    You are kidding, right? In 22 years of collecting a paycheck the best you can cite is some meaningless Fox News pablum. Could you point to one instance of Palmer enhancing economic development through this office besides her own through her addiction to swag bags, just one? You know she is considered a sad joke in the local fjlm community and a pariah in Hollywood. Do you have any connection at all to either?

    I googled you and from the photo it would appear you two broads are about the same age so I'm guessing you might just be sorority sisters or even more degressively pathetic alumna of the same Leadership Washington class. I'd even, therefore, bet that you too are a placeholder in some high paying do nothing job.

  • Anonymous

    Didn't Crystal Palmer almost get invited to the Vanity Fair party after the correspondents dinner one year? She also has the distinction of having been fired from the same job twice. Maybe she can get Jack to appoint her and aim for a trifecta.

    What will she and Harold do now? Perhaps they could go into business with the Browns, Kwame and Michael.

    Perhaps she can do for high tech the same magic she did for TV. Vince Gray must have another LivingSocial up his sleeve. Or how about collaborating with Katherine Weymouth soon to be formerly from the Post on a b series of how not to books.

    I see reality TV in her future.

    I think she also gets fees from Baltimore and Philadelphia.

  • Julie Rones

    Crystal would not have lasted for 22 years in her position if she wasn't providing high value to the City in terms of bringing in major dollar value. Give her credit and move on. Things change, so that if the Mayor believes new directions and energy are needed, let it go at that, but don't besmerch Crystal or me. People who make personal attacks undermine legitimate criticism and just debase themselves. Move on!

  • DC Filmster

    Ms. Rones,
    Are you high? Can I get some? I promise it is for medical purposes. To suggest that Crystal Palmer has brought anything of value through her tenure is preposterous. By any measure she has been a colossal disaster. They have never even mastered production 101, facilitating permits, as evidenced by the House of Cards motorcade debacle.

    House of Cards was originally supposed to film but Palmer screwed that up and the entire one hundred million dollar production budget went into Baltimore's economy. Five productions set in Washington garnered 18 Emmy nominations, not a single one is filmed here. I guess the mayor noticed.

    Productions slated to come into DC were pulled when it became known that Palmer was back. If Palmer brought economic development to the City the city was Baltimore, Philly, or Richmond.

    To state that Crystal Palmer has collected a high government salary for years and has nothing to show for it is not a personal attack, it is a statement of fact. She is hopefully a remnant of a whole class of DC administrative types who think themselves entitled to big jobs with little competence or work. Your desperate vacuous defense of Palmer suggest you know the type.

  • CoffeeKid

    Palmer was getting paid $186K plus fringe benefits and bonuses, one of the top paid film commissioners in the country.