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Opening of Daemen Visual Effects Facility Marks Major Step in Growing Industry | Business

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Opening of Daemen Visual Effects Facility Marks Major Step in Growing Industry
Business, News, Schools
Opening of Daemen Visual Effects Facility Marks Major Step in Growing Industry

Daemen College’s newly completed $2 million state-of-the-art visual effects facility was formally opened Dec. 5 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, signifying a major step forward in a Buffalo Billion initiative focused on growing Buffalo Niagara’s film and post-production industry.

“Western New York is poised for success in developing a thriving regional post-production industry and this new, state-of-the-art visual effects facility is a key investment in making that happen,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson. “We are proud to be a part of such a dynamic venture with great potential for economic growth and job creation.”

A year in the making, the nearly 16,000-square-foot visual effects facility evolved from a collaboration between Daemen and Empire Visual Effects, a post-production and animation company. A $4.5 million Buffalo Billion grant jump-started the endeavor, which included $1.9 million to Daemen to create and equip the high-tech facility.

In addition, the funding helped launch Daemen’s four-month visual effects certificate program offered through the college’s Department of Visual and Performing Arts. Designed to educate students and to facilitate developing the specialized skills set required for post-production work, the program also serves as a valuable link to employment opportunities in the film industry.

“We look forward to a continued and heightened collaboration with Empire Visual Effects, including implementing new joint marketing strategic plans,” said Dr. Laura Watts Sommer, director of the Daemen Visual and Performing Arts Department. “With this joint effort, our new technologically advanced facility, innovative curriculum and world-class faculty, we’ll be able to create a workforce that will result in new jobs to support a new and growing industry here in Buffalo.”

Housed in the Tri Main Center, the visual effects facility features a 79-seat theater and screening room with high-definition and 3D projection capabilities, surround sound and a color editing suite. A green screen stage for a range of film and video production projects, a 20-student visual effects training studio with industry-level equipment, and classroom and office spaces are also included in the facility.

Joining members of the Daemen community at the ribbon-cutting event held in the college’s International Center for Excellence in Animation were Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown; Tim Clark, film commissioner of the Buffalo Niagara Film Office; Congressman Brian Higgins; State Senator Tim Kennedy; State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer; Assemblyman Robin Schimminger; Assemblyman Ray Walter; and Empire State Development representatives.

“The opening of this first-rate facility is a great development in the burgeoning visual effects industry in Buffalo and Western New York,” said Brown.

Also in attendance from Empire Visual Effects were Ben Porcari, Pete Conlin and Marcelo Gondola. The community had a chance to tour the new facility and learn about the VFX certificate program at a public open house held on Dec. 6.

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