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Stars and extras of Virginia, prepare thee for a new PBS Civil War series soon to film

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Bearded extras came out in full force for the filming of "Lincoln" by Steven Spielberg

RICHMOND, Va. – PBS will soon begin filming their new Civil War television series in Virginia.

The series, created by Lisa Q. Wolfinger and David Zabel, will be a blend of hospital drama and family saga. Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Gladiator, Thelma &Louise) and David W. Zucker are executive producers. Scott also had producer credit for the television adaptation Killing Lincoln that filmed in Richmond.

Both the title of the series and cast will be announced at a future date. The six-episode first season will film in the Richmond and Petersburg areas in late spring 2015 and is scheduled to premiere in the winter of 2016.

The show is inspired by the memoirs and letters of actual doctors and female nurse volunteers at Mansion House Hospital, a luxury hotel in Alexandria that was transformed into a Union Army hospital during the Civil War. Based on true events, the show highlights the changing role of women in wartimes and follows two volunteer nurses on opposite sides of the Civil War. Mary Phinney is a staunch New England abolitionist while Emma Green is a willful young Confederate

Mary Phinney is a staunch New England abolitionist while Emma Green is a willful young Confederate Belle.

This show joins a spate of recent productions, including the historic-themed AMC production TURN: Washington’s Spies, which is currently on its second season filming.

“Season one of TURN: Washington’s Spies provided $19 million in wages and $58 million in economic impact for the Commonwealth,” said Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade.

Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds pointed out that a television series tends to have longer-term expenditures and greater employment opportunities for Virginians.

“In addition, we are working with the producers to create a promotional piece for Virginia that will leverage the series to shine a spotlight on the state’s exceptional tourism assets,” Edmunds said.

The new series is also eligible for incentive funding. The exact amount will be based on expenditures in Virginia and certain deliverables to promote tourism within the Commonwealth. According to a press release, Virginia’s film industry in 2013 had an economic impact of $382.5 million, and it provided $19.4 million in state and local tax revenue for the Commonwealth.

Recent Commonwealth governors, along with the Virginia Film Office, continue to focus on building relationships and incentives for the film industry.

In 2005, under former Gov. Kaine, Virginia experienced what was the highest ever economic impact from the film and video industry, at $221 million.

In 2011, under former Gov. Bob McDonnell, the total economic impact for the state was $394.4 million. A report by the governor found that for every dollar invested in bringing productions to Commonwealth, $11.80 returned to the state economy.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe is thrilled that Virginia will be the stage for such a powerful story, one that will “be an important contributor to the new Virginia economy, providing good jobs and increased revenue for state and local taxes.”

“We are proud to be hosting this series because it is a Virginia story and an American story of people who struggled to endure and prevail during one of the most divisive eras our nation has ever known,” the governor said.

“Telling stories like this is at the heart of our mission at PBS – to educate, engage, and inspire our audiences – and we are thankful for the support of the state of Virginia which has made this production possible,” said PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger.

The series creator Lisa Q. Wolfinger agreed that the resources and support from the state and local governments are exceptional and make Virginia the “perfect place” to film.

“The Civil War was a time of tumult and upheaval, but was also a social revolution that forever changed the lives of all who lived through it,” Wolfinger said. “Our series will introduce audiences to ordinary people living in extraordinary times, whose personal lives and stories will give us a greater insight into the remarkable era in which they lived.”

To ensure historical accuracy, a prominent group of historians and medical experts consulted on the development of the project including James Barger, a historian and curator at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery who received an MA in history from Virginia Tech. Barger has also served as a historical consultant and editor of several notable Civil War publications.