Abu Dhabi Film Commission congratulates 'Dune' cast and crew on Bafta nominations

The sci-fi epic was partly shot in Abu Dhabi's Liwa desert in summer 2019

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Denis Villeneuve’s Dune leads this year’s Baftas with 11 nominations including Best Film, Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay.

The sci-fi epic, which stars Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Issac and Zendaya, was partly shot in Abu Dhabi, with the Liwa desert and its vast open landscape used as the setting for the planet Arrakis.

In the film, which is adapted from the book series of the same name by Frank Herbert, the dangerous planet is known for its exclusive supply of Spice, the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe.

On hearing the news that the film had been nominated for so many Baftas, the Abu Dhabi Film Commission congratulated the team behind Dune and expressed happiness that Liwa got to play such a big role in it.

“Abu Dhabi Film Commission is proud that the incredible natural landscape of Liwa, which doubled for the desert planet Arrakis, is one of the stars of Dune. We have no doubt that the exquisite way it was captured is one of the reasons behind the nomination for Best Cinematography at this year’s Baftas,” says Hans Fraikin, head of the Abu Dhabi Film Commission.

“On behalf of everyone who worked on the film in Abu Dhabi, I’d like to congratulate Denis Villeneuve and the cast and crew of Dune on all their Bafta nominations and wish them luck.”

Shooting in the UAE and Jordan took place in summer 2019.

In a previous exclusive interview with The National, it was revealed that the producers working on Dune were originally looking for something different.

“When the producers were looking to the UAE, the brief wasn’t about a big desert landscape,” says Robbie McAree of Epic Films, which provided production services for the film.

“We were looking for locations that had big, rocky mountains with desert around, which sounds achievable but it’s not particularly easy to find in the UAE, especially when they’re also looking at other countries like Jordan where you have places like Wadi Rum.

“Eventually it changed. They fell in love with the UAE so much that they decided to choose the country for the vast desert landscapes.”

In a behind-the-scenes video released by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, Villeneuve revealed what drew him to Liwa as a central location for the film.

"What I found in Abu Dhabi is unmatchable. There’s a scale to the dunes and the desert in a variety of shapes that we thought was absolutely mesmerising," he said.

"There’s also some climatic conditions there that were perfect for us because of the proximity to the city, it's like a strange kind of haze in that air that I was looking for that matched totally with the look of the film.”

In October, it was confirmed that a sequel for Dune is in the works. Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich announced that the studio would release Dune: Part Two in October 2023.

Updated: February 04, 2022, 9:15 AM