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Monday, 10 February, 2003, 12:24 GMT
Lucas eyes Hollywood crown
Lucas breaks the ground with local dignitaries
Lucas (second right) wants to boost the city's reputation
George Lucas hopes a special effects campus he is building for his Lucasfilm studio near San Francisco will eventually help the city rival Hollywood.

Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars trilogies, was at the ground-breaking ceremony for the $300m (187.6m) special effects site on Saturday.

The director hopes it will help put San Francisco on the map as a major movie production area.

"San Francisco's always had a quality of film-making that most people haven't been able to recognise, we always get shoved under the title 'Hollywood'," Lucas said.

"I think this will begin to put a stake in the ground for San Francisco as a film-making community, as a creator of world cinema," he added.

Yoda
Jedi master Yoda is one of Lucas' creations

The complex, which is close to the Golden Gate Bridge, will be known as the Letterman Digital Arts Center at the Presidio.

It will cover 76,500-square-metres and will house 2,500 new workers when it is completed in 2005.

Nearby residents, however, have complained about the contruction work taking place in the Presidio national park.

Last Star Wars

Lucas is currently making the third and final prequel to his first Star Wars film, which is due for release in 2005.

He has vowed the film will be the last of the Star Wars films, and has said he wants to work on other projects.

In between the last original Star Wars film, 1983's Return Of The Jedi and 1999's The Phantom Menace, Lucas produced rather than directed films.

He owns a special effects company called Industrial Light & Magic, which has created visual effects for many Hollywood blockbusters.

The THX sound system, also invented by Lucas' studio, has been used to improve sound quality in cinemas.

Lucas's home, Skywalker Ranch, is also near San Francisco.

See also:

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