July 11, 2013

Buffalo Billion initiative helps launch Empire Visual Effects

NEW YORK — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo (www.governor.ny.gov) today announced that through the Buffalo Billion initiative, a new post production, visual effects and animation company will be established at the landmark Tri-Main Center in Buffalo. 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 says. “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,” says Marcelo Gandola, co-chair Post New York Alliance and 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 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.

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.