Famed Hollywood visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic opened a brand new studio in London yesterday.
The UK office will of course be working on Star Wars: Episode VII, as well as Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant Man and a number of unannounced, high-profile cinematic blockbusters. The studio is also working on some ambitious new technology.
"The government's investment in innovation have made it possible for us to place our London studio at the very forefront of new technology developments that we are working on at ILM, which we believe will be game changers, not only in the film industry but for all computer graphics for entertainment," ILM president and general manager Lynwen Brennan told attendees.
Brennan and LucasFilm president Kathleen Kennedy invited two key members of the UK government – Chancellor George Osborne (pictured above, receiving the 'key to ILM') and Culture Minister Ed Vaizey – to the studio's opening, thanking them for their role in laying the foundation for the firm's entry to the UK.
"There is a real buzz about our creative industries in the UK," said Osborne. "I'd like to think the government has played a part in that with new tax breaks for films, games and animations, various skills funds – but I know that's only part of it. What really makes this a cool place to start a business are the people and the culture. It's brilliant that ILM has opened an office here."
ILM London is currently hiring, having just added art director and concept artist Kevin Jenkins and former Framestore employee Ben Morris to its ranks. Morris served as visual effects supervisor on War Horse, Lincoln and Gravity.