October 20, 2021


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‘Dun’: Arakis is the Liwa Desert of Abu Dhabi

4 min read

The Abu Dhabi Film Commission is understandably proud that Warner Bros. Pictures and legends depicting the Liva Desert, the largest oasis area in the western part of the UAE that doubles the Arakis Desert and has in the past also served as a set for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”.

Dennis Villeneuve, the director of “Dune,” filmed in the Lewa Desert in 11 days With a team of local and international talent. The film benefited from the rebate through the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, while production services were provided by Dubai-based Epic Films. The UAE has several production partners, including two Four 54s, Go Arials, Filmquip Media, FSTOP Location Services and Iman Transport.

This The exclusive promotional footage behind the scenes shows the cast and crew locations for a sequence of original scenes set on Arakis, and appreciates Villanuev’s location and the services of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission.

Diversity Abu Dhabi spoke to Film Commissioner Hans Freikin.

What pulled ‘Dun’ towards Abu Dhabi?

Abu Dhabi’s reputation among the most varied but accessible locations for filming that kept our director on the radar, but the deal was sealed when Dennis first kept an eye on Liwa. She was simply blown away by the depth and richness of her beauty.

We are blessed to have such an incredible landscape at our doorstep. We certainly feel that the combination of such a captivating natural environment and accessibility is a rare proposition for filmmakers. This is one of the reasons why one of the top directors in the world came here, not just for the desert, but also for the ancient beaches, future city views, art complexes and architectural wonders. There is such a rich variety of locations.

That said, a film crew specialist needs local talent, world-class facilities and a supportive environment, all of which Abu Dhabi offers. It’s really end-to-end support. Of course, a 30% discount and the sun helps throughout the year.

How long did Villeneuve and his crew shoot in Abu Dhabi? And how deep was the crew?

The Abu Dhabi Film Commission worked with Dennis and his team for some time to secure the right locations and arrange supplies, from filming permits to travel and accommodation. This means that when they arrived they were able to shoot smoothly and smoothly in 11 days with the help of several local businesses and freelancers from the media and entertainment center 545 Abu Dhabi. In total, they had a cast and crew of more than 100 people in position.

Why was Liwa such a big stand-in for Arakis?

Liva is really one of the stars of the film. Its stunning landscapes are twice as perfect for the Arakis desert world, where “Dun” is set. One of the largest and most beautiful natural landscapes in the world, Liwa is known as the “empty quarter” because of its size and distant nature, and the crew was able to use that variety and scale to capture wide range of aerial and ground shots, perfect for action and dramatic scenes.

Was there any special way for Abu Dhabi Film Commission to shoot “Tune”?

Legendary Films has benefited from a 30% cashback rebate on production costs in the UAE by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC), as there have been more than 90 major productions in recent years.

However, we worked hard to make sure their experience here was as simple as possible, so we facilitated logistics, such as applications for filming permits, and helped import equipment.

They have also found the perfect mate [Dubai-based] Epic Films, which has conducted many projects for those in the UAE.

When will “Dun” be released in UAE cinemas? I imagine it would be a matter of pride that it was partially shot

We are extremely proud of every production produced in Abu Dhabi, such as Arabic dramas and Bollywood hits from “Dun,” “Star Wars,” “Mission Impossible” and “Fast and Furious”.

Glad to see our incredible Emirates on both big and small screens and use incredible locations to tell our stories to our various creative minds.

Dune is, of course, a real milestone for us. It will be released in the United Arab Emirates on September 23rd and is one of the first truly great movies to be released as soon as it emerges from the global epidemic.

Equally, we know that by attracting filmmakers like Abu Dhabi to Dennis and his team, our own talents are working alongside the best in the world and learning from them. It strengthens our industry and makes Abu Dhabi a more attractive place for filmmakers.

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