A new post production, visual effects and animation company will be established at the landmark Tri-Main Center. Empire Visual Effects, which will partner with Daemen College, has pledged to create 150 new visual effects and other post production jobs within five years – jobs that will pave the way for the creation of a new post production and visual effects industry in Western New York. New York State awarded the company and Daemen College a $4.5 million capital grant to facilitate the project.
The project is also supported by several pieces of legislation Governor Cuomo championed and signed into law in the past year which strengthened incentives to attract post-production film and television activity to the state. The new laws are designed to help attract post production work to communities, particularly in Upstate New York.
“We are pleased to welcome Empire Visual Effects to the City of Buffalo as they plant their roots in Upstate New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “The establishment of Empire Visual Effects is evidence of the great potential of transforming Upstate and Western New York into a major film, animation and post production destination for the industry. I am confident the momentum, coupled with our Buffalo Billion commitment, will drive even more investment and projects to this region. This will mean more good-paying, high-tech jobs for New Yorkers in an exciting field.”
“I want to thank Governor Cuomo and his unrelenting staff, who are committed to supporting an environment of opportunity that creates jobs in this great state” said Marcelo Gandola, Co-chair Post New York Alliance, advisor to Empire State Visual Effects. “This is an outstanding day for Upstate and Downstate NY, and the film and television post production industry as a whole. I thank Daemon College who took the first step in creating the essential education piece of this process. Ben Porcari, Jonathan Hoffman and Pete Conlin have created what I feel will be a standard in the VFX/post production industry. New York State, the Post New York Alliance and the film and television industry should be proud of what has been accomplished here. I’m humbled to be part of this project and know I will look back at the success of this venture and this pivotal moment.”
The grant funding will also provide Daemen College’s International Center for Excellence in Animation (ICEA) with significant new technology tools for a Visual Effects Certificate Program. The program will provide fast training for students in Buffalo and Western New York who will be hired by the new post production/animation company.
“Daemen College and its International Center for Excellence in Animation have been working for more than a year with Empire State Development and Marcelo Gandola to forge this impressive partnership of higher education with the visual effects industry,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson.
The Buffalo Billion incentive funding will be utilized to provide space build-out; special computer and high-speed internet networks; supercomputer connections; and other power systems specific to the new company’s requirements in setting up a state-of-the-art post-production/animation platform at the Tri-Main Center. The funding will also allow Daemen College to establish the technology infrastructure required for its Visual Effects Certificate student training.
Through Empire Visual Effects partnership with Daemen College and a network of community colleges, such as Erie Community College and Niagara County Community College, across the state, it will secure a steady stream of qualified students ready to meet the challenges of the modern day visual effects industry. Daemen College will develop a world-class visual effects training facility, which will have all the software, hardware, computers and pipeline infrastructure needed to train the workforce and interface with industry. The college has also developed and is growing a 16-week visual effects training program that will train more than 60 students per year. These students will be ready to go directly into jobs at Empire Visual Effects and other post production facilities around the state.
The goals of Empire Visual Effects are also in line with Governor Cuomo’s economic reforms to workforce training for job openings. New York’s workforce training is from a different era and a generic job training program does not fit today’s economy. The 2013-2014 enacted budget capitalizes on the opportunity of an estimated 210,000 unfilled jobs in the state by including $5 million for the Next Generation Job Linkage Program that works with employers to identify the job, define the skill and provide the training for it.
The entertainment industry is a major component of both the U.S. and New York State economies. The motion picture and television industry is responsible for 91.608 direct jobs and $8.2 billion in wages in New York, including both production and distribution-related jobs. The current trend for the last several years is that the post production of film budgets has been increasing dramatically due to demand for visual effects.
Post-production includes all of the editing after filming is complete and includes visual effects, color correction, sound editing and mixing. The industry also includes thousands of other jobs, from engineers and messengers to creative and support staff.