Daemen College’s newly completed $2 million state-of-the-art visual effects facility was formally opened in December 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.

“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,” Dr. Laura Watts Sommer, director of the Daemen Visual and Performing Arts Department.

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.