Chris Palmer (film producer)

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Chris Palmer
Chris Palmer (film producer, cropped).jpg
Born (1947-08-25) 25 August 1947 (age 72)
Hong Kong
OccupationFilm producer, Professor, Author
Years active1983–present

Chris Palmer (born on 25 August 1947) is an Hong Kong born English environmental and wildlife film producer and director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University. He was executive producer for the Oscar nominated film Dolphins. He is author of Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom (ISBN 1578051487), Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in an Industry Where Ratings Are King (ISBN 193895405X), and Now What Grad: Your Path to Success After College (ISBN 1475823665).

Early life[edit]

Born in Hong Kong, Palmer grew up in England, served as an officer in the Royal Navy for seven years, and immigrated to the United States in 1972. He holds a B.S. with First Class Honors in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. in Ocean Engineering and Naval Architecture from University College London and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University where he was a Kennedy Scholar and received a Harkness Fellowship.


After his immigration to the United States in 1972, he worked as chief energy advisor to Senator Charles H. Percy. He then served as a political appointee in the Environmental Protection Agency under President Jimmy Carter. In 1983, he founded National Audubon Society Productions, where he served as president and CEO for 11 years. In 1994, he founded the nonprofit National Wildlife Productions (part of the National Wildlife Federation, the largest conservation organization in the United States) which he managed as president and CEO for 10 years, directing NWF's launch into broadcast, cable, IMAX, and other media markets. He is a professor in the American University School of Communication. He publishes articles regularly (including a bimonthly column for Realscreen Magazine) and currently serves on the boards of fourteen non-profits.

Film and television production[edit]

Since the early 1980s, Palmer has been actively involved in film and television production, specializing in environmental and wildlife filmmaking.[1] His films have been broadcast on the Disney Channel, TBS, PBS, Animal Planet, and other channels. Palmer has executive produced several IMAX films with MacGillivray Freeman Films, including Coral Reef Adventure and Dolphins. Dolphins was nominated for the 2000 Academy Award for Best Short Subject Documentary.[2] His other IMAX film include Bears, Wolves, and Whales, "To The Arctic 3D", and "Journey to the South Pacific 3D". In 2004, Palmer was named president of the MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation, which produces and funds IMAX films and companion educational outreach materials and programs.[3]


In August 2004, Palmer joined the full-time faculty of American University as Distinguished Film Producer in Residence. At American, he founded the Center for Environmental Filmmaking. He continues to serve as director of the Center for Environmental Filmmaking while also teaching classes in the School of Communication.

Palmer is a frequent speaker at conferences and film festivals and gives workshops on such subjects as effective networking and giving effective presentations. In 2010, he was a featured speaker at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, DC as well as at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He has been interviewed on The Today Show and The Fox News Channel and in May, 2010, appeared on the Diane Rehm Show as a guest panelist.[4] His book, Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom was published in 2010 by Sierra Club Books and has received critical acclaim for being "a sharp and searching assessment of the contemporary wildlife media universe from someone who loves the field and wants to see it live up to its promise." [5] On March 1, 2012. In the book Palmer said, "You have to send your kids to college, you want to retire with some money. You cannot go back with dull footage. When you're under that pressure, and the weather is closing in, ethics is the last thing in your mind." His book was recently made into a public television documentary entitled "Shooting in the Wild", and was narrated by Alexandra Cousteau. Palmer was a guest panelist on the Kojo Nnamdi Show.


In 1994, Palmer received the Frank G. Wells Award for ongoing commitment to environmental protection from the Environmental Media Association. In 2009, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Media at the International Wildlife Film Festival. Palmer was recognized in 2010 as the "Environmental Film Educator of the Decade" at the Green Globe Film Awards.[6][7][8] Palmer received the International Wildlife Film Festival's first-ever "IWFF Wildlife Hero of the Year Award" on May 13, 2011 in Missoula, Montana at the 34th annual award ceremony. In 2012, he was named the recipient of the Ronald B. Tobias Award for Achievement in Science and Natural History Filmmaking Education. In 2015, Palmer received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the International Wildlife Film Festival.

Personal life[edit]

Palmer lives in Bethesda, Maryland. He is married to Gail Shearer and is father to three grown daughters: Kimberly, Christina, and Jennifer. In his free time, he performs stand-up comedy in DC area comedy clubs.


Executive producer[edit]

Year Film Notes
1986 Condor TV documentary
The Mysterious Black-Footed Ferret TV documentary
1987 On the Edge of Extinction: Panthers and Cheetahs TV documentary
Common Ground: Farming and Wildlife TV documentary
Ducks Under Siege TV documentary
Woodstork: Barometer of the Everglades TV documentary
Whales! TV documentary
1988 Grizzly & Man: Uneasy Truce TV documentary
Messages from the Birds TV documentary
Sea Turtles: Ancient Nomads TV documentary
World of Audubon: Sharks! TV documentary
1989 Greed and Wildlife: Poaching in America Video documentary
Crane River TV documentary
Ancient Forests: Rage Over Trees TV documentary
Wolves TV documentary
1990 If Dolphins Could Talk TV documentary
Arctic Refuge: A Vanishing Wilderness? TV documentary
Ivory Hunters TV movie
Danger at the Beach TV documentary
Wildfire TV documentary
1991 Hope for the Tropics TV documentary
The New Range Wars TV documentary
Great Lakes, Bitter Legacy TV documentary
Caribbean Cool TV documentary
Mysterious Elephants of the Congo TV documentary
1992 This Island Earth TV documentary
Battle for the Great Plains TV documentary
The Environmental Tourist TV documentary
Greenhouse Gamble TV documentary
Sex, Lies and Holes in the Skies TV documentary
1993 Hawaii: Paradise in Peril
Galapagos: My Fragile World TV documentary
Backlash in the Wild TV documentary
Cathedrals in the Sea TV documentary
1994 Desperately Seeking Sanctuary TV documentary
Hunt for the Giant Bluefin TV documentary
The World of Audubon 10th Anniversary Special TV movie
1996 An African Love Story TV documentary
Dolphins in Danger TV documentary
Survival of the Yellowstone Wolves TV documentary
The Last Great American Gold Heist TV documentary
Wild Life Adventures TV series - 8 episodes (1996–2000)
1997 Tiger! Documentary
Wildlife Encounters: Alaska TV documentary
BirdWatch TV series documentary
1998 Whales: An Unforgettable Journey Documentary short
Producer - as Christopher Palmer
Nature Episode: "American Buffalo: Spirit of a Nation"
Wildlife Wars TV documentary
Wildlife Emergency TV series documentary
1999 Return of the Eagle TV movie
Wolves IMAX documentary short
Wild City TV documentary
2000 Tracks: Tracking with the San People of the Kalahari TV documentary
Dolphins IMAX documentary short
Troubled Waters TV documentary
2002 India: Kingdom of the Tiger IMAX documentary short
2003 Coral Reef Adventure IMAX documentary short - as Christopher Palmer
2004 Bears IMAX documentary short
2008 Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk Documentary short - Senior coordinating producer
2009 Ocean for Life: Ocean Melody IMAX documentary short
2011 Working with Fire Documentary short
2012 True Wolf Theatrical documentary
To the Arctic 3D IMAX documentary short
Safe Haven: The Delmarva Fox Squirrel and Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Documentary short
2013 Journey to the South Pacific IMAX documentary short
Shooting in the Wild TV documentary - author
2015 Fifty Years of Farming TV documentary
2016 The Culture of Collards TV documentary
When Mickey Came to Town TV documentary


  1. ^ "IMAX producer makes conservation cool". 2007-09-19. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  2. ^ "Dolphins - Cast, Crew, Director and Awards -". 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  3. ^ "MacGillivray Freeman Films Educational Foundation". Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  4. ^ "The Future of Commercial Whaling | The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU and NPR". The Diane Rehm Show. 2010-05-24. Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  5. ^ "Wayne Pacelle: New Book Goes Behind the Scenes of Nature Films". Retrieved 2010-06-13.
  6. ^ "Chris Palmer to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award". Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  7. ^ "1994 Award Winners". Archived from the original on July 19, 2011. Retrieved 2010-06-18.
  8. ^ "The Green Planet Movie Awards". Archived from the original on 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2010-06-18.

Further reading[edit]

  • Chris Palmer: Shooting in the Wild: An Insider's Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom, Sierra Club Books, 2010
  • Chris Palmer: Confessions of a Wildlife Filmmaker: The Challenges of Staying Honest in an Industry Where Ratings Are King, Bluefield Publishing, 2015
  • Chris Palmer: Now What Grad: Your Path to Success After College, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2015

External links[edit]