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Virginia becoming hotspot for Hollywood

Published: Aug. 3, 2012 at 4:34 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2012 at 3:52 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond was buzzing as Steven Spielberg shot his new movie "Lincoln" here last year.

Now we're learning Richmond will host a premier for the new flick this November.

Filming is wrapping up Friday on another Abraham Lincoln movie in Jackson Ward. This time it's not Steven Spielberg, but National Geographic doing the filming.

If you feel like Richmond is showing up on the silver screen more — you're right. More filmmakers are deciding to set up shop here in Richmond instead of Hollywood.

Filmmakers spent millions of dollars shooting one of the biggest blockbusters set to debut this fall.

Andy Edmunds is the interim director of the Virginia Film Office. He said the Commonwealth competed with many other states to get Spielberg to come here.

"There's an old saying, 'it's show business, not show fun'," Edmunds said.

It's competitive for a reason. Even small films can bring in millions of dollars into the local economy.

"They're like super tourists with a payroll," he said.  "They come in and they buy everything from paper clips to renting helicopters and they bring in a lot of money to put into the economy."

Many states offer big tax breaks for filmmakers. Virginia offers about 11 million dollars, making it attractive to shoot outside Hollywood.

"It's the type of business that they come in, they spend money, and they leave," Edmunds said. "They don't require more roads, more schools, more infrastructure. It's the perfect kind of tourism dollar."

Edmunds said Virginia is able to compete with less money because of all the crew members that live locally and the historic backdrops this area can offer.

Spielberg's "Lincoln" will debut November 9, opening in theaters nationwide on November 16.

The Film Office said the Richmond premiere will likely be the first or second week of November. Where it will be held and which stars will attend have yet to be determined.

Even though the new Lincoln movie hasn't been released yet — it's already considered an early favorite at this year's Oscar awards.

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