Star Wars: Episode VII starts filming in Abu Dhabi

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The latest installment of the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: Episode VII has begun filming in Abu Dhabi.

A media company, known as twofour54, backed by the Gulf federation’s capital of Abu Dhabi announced on Wednesday that the next installment of Star Wars is currently filming in the oil-rich Middle Eastern emirate.

More than 600 international and regional crew as well as lead and supporting cast members have been in the Emirates for the Star Wars shoot since early May.

“We are extremely excited about being part of such a huge movie,” Paul Baker, executive director of twofour54 Intaj, the company’s production services division, told The Associated Press. “It’s a good demonstration that we are well on the way to establishing a long-term production environment in Abu Dhabi.”

Abu Dhabi has invested heavily in trying to establish itself as a center of media production and a destination for filmmakers from around the world.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy described Abu Dhabi as “an incredible place to commence this journey” in the twofour54 statement, released on Wednesday.

Star Wars: Episode VII is scheduled for release in December 2015.

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