Industrial Light and Magic Opens R&D Division in London

J.J. Abrams shows off X-Wing fighter
Courtesy of Disney

Special effects company Industrial Light and Magic has set up a R&D division in London, creating 200 jobs.

The company, which is working on J.J Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VII,” opened its U.K. office after it secured financial support from a £15 million ($23.9 million) fund set up by the U.K. government. Abrams has been lensing “Star Wars: Episode VII” at Pinewood Studios, close to London, and has benefited from the U.K.’s tax credit.

Among those attending the official opening in London Wednesday were Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, Lynwen Brennan, ILM’s president and general manager, John Knoll, ILM’s chief creative officer, the U.K.’s Chancellor George Osborne, who is in charge of British financial policy, and Edward Vaizey, the U.K. minister for culture, communications and creative industries.

Brennan said: “Industrial Light and Magic has always been a global company, looking to work with the best visual effects talent around the world. The investments that the government has made in the U.K. make it a thriving film community with the talent, history and economic model that makes it the ideal location not only for shooting ‘Star Wars’ – but also the ideal place for ILM.”

ILM London’s creative team will be led by creative director Ben Morris and animation director Michael Eames. The studio’s director of operations, Sue Lyster, will oversee all London-based operations.

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