The Washington Times - May 4, 2011, 11:50AM

Offering incentives for film companies to come to Virginia appears to be paying off for the commonwealth.

Gov. Bob McDonnell has announced that Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg will shoot his feature film “Lincoln” in Old Dominion in return for a $4.6 million incentive package.

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“We are honored that Steven Spielberg, an award winning and visionary film maker, has chosen the Commonwealth for this important film,” said Mr. McDonnell, a Republican. “It is especially notable coming during the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and emancipation.

“Steven is an exceptional storyteller who brings historic themes to life on screen, resulting in such important and influential films as Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, Munich and the mini-series Band of Brothers. I have no doubt that Lincoln will quickly join the ranks of those famous works.”

Slated for release in 2012, the movie will be filmed in the Richmond and Petersburg areas beginning next fall. It will star Academy Award-winning actors Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot, There Will be Blood) as Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field (Norma Rae, Places in the Heart) as Mary Todd Lincoln. The screenplay was written by Tony Kushner who last worked with Spielberg on the feature film Munich. The film will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Spielberg for DreamWorks Studios.

“Richmond played a central role in the Civil War, and we are honored that our city will be featured in a film about this important time in American history,” said Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. “We welcome this extraordinary opportunity to be part of this film.”

The incentive package includes $1 million from the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund, $2.5 million from the Virginia Motion Picture Tax Credit program and $1.1 million in in-kind contributions.

The direct and indirect impact of Virginia’s motion picture and video production industry in 2009 was $346 million, representing 2,700 jobs for the state, according to the governor’s office.