Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that PBS has selected Virginia as the filming location for a new Civil War television series that is a blend of hospital drama and family saga. The series was created by Lisa Q. Wolfinger and David Zabel, and executive produced by Ridley Scott and David W. Zucker.
It 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. The six-episode first season will film in the Richmond and Petersburg areas in the late spring and is scheduled to premiere in the winter of 2016. The title of the series and cast will be announced at a future date.
Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “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. I enthusiastically welcome PBS and everyone involved in this important series to the Commonwealth. This new project from PBS will be an important contributor to the new Virginia economy, providing good jobs and increased revenue for state and local taxes.”
The series will be eligible for incentive funding. The exact amount will be based on expenditures in Virginia and certain deliverables to promote tourism in the Commonwealth. In 2013, Virginia’s film industry had an economic impact of $382.5 million, and it provided $19.4 million in state and local tax revenue for the Commonwealth.
“Virginia has become a premiere destination for film and television production, particularly for important projects based on historic themes,” said Maurice Jones, Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Season one ofTURN: Washington’s Spies provided $19 million in wages and $58 million in economic impact for the Commonwealth. Season two is currently filming in Central Virginia and is providing more impact and employing more Virginians.”
“This is another huge win for the film industry in the Commonwealth,” said Virginia Film Office Director Andy Edmunds. “A television series is particularly valuable because of the proven 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.”
Based on true events, the show 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 belle. As the boundaries of medicine are being explored and expanded, the role of women is also broadening. Here, amongst the collision of a wartime medical drama and a family saga of conflicted loyalties and moral dilemmas, the series plays out a story of the highest stakes. 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. He is a lifelong Alexandrian and author of Alexandria in the Civil War. He is also a historical consultant and editor of several notable Civil War publications.
“At PBS, we are committed to telling stories of historic importance that illuminate our collective history as Americans. We are extremely excited to be bringing this historical drama to our audiences, to help shine a new light on a corner of Civil War history that has not been explored before,” PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger 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.”
Series creator Lisa Q. Wolfinger said, “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. 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. We couldn’t be more excited to be in Virginia for this project. The authentic locations, historic resources and support from the state and local governments are exceptional and make this the perfect place to bring our story to life.”
To read the PBS press release about this project, please click here.
For more information about the Virginia Film Office, please click here.
The Virginia Film Office is part of the Virginia Tourism Corporation, the state agency charged with marketing the state of Virginia. For more information on the Virginia Tourism Corporation, please click here.