Empire VFX & Daemen College to Bring VFX Hub to Buffalo
Buffalo Niagara Enterprise President Thomas Kucharski said, “Empire Visual Effects is precisely the kind of innovative higher education/private sector initiative that can be transformative for our region, and we are delighted to welcome this new business to Buffalo Niagara. We look forward to working with them, Daemen College, and our colleagues at ESD to help the company meet its goal of developing a new industry and creating new jobs in our community.”
“The future of Western New York’s economy is dependent upon the creation and attraction of new jobs and new industries to our region.” Says Senator Patrick Gallivan (R, C, IP-59). “While our community has always been home to world class architecture and picturesque scenery, upstate New York has lost out on lucrative filming projects and the jobs they bring with them because we lacked the economic and professional tools to compete with bordering states. The establishment of a postproduction, visual effects and animation company in the City of Buffalo, combined with the enhanced upstate film production tax credit enacted this year, will put Western New York in position to become a national leader for motion picture production.”
“One of our goals as a state is to create new jobs and help New York State residents establish careers that will allow them to stay here and raise a family instead of moving elsewhere,” said Senator Mark Grisanti. “Empire Visual Effects is going to help attract high-tech jobs and will help provide Daemen College with another marketing tool to recruit more students to the school. The grant monies awarded to Empire Visual Effects will help create approximately 50 new jobs each year over a three-year time period, a tremendous return on investment for the taxpayers of New York State, especially those who live in Western New York.”
“The City of Buffalo is rich with a myriad of creative and talented artists, many of whom I hope take advantage of this opportunity to showcase their abilities” said Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes. “I’d like to thank Daemen College, Empire Visual Effects, and the Governor’s staff for the vision and drive to create 150 new jobs here. Establishing a cutting-edge industry while growing our creative class will only continue to move Western New York forward.”
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.
“By putting in place a mechanism for training upstate workers in the art of visual effects, and then giving them a place to work after graduation, this program will help establish the upstate region as a destination for post-production work,” commented Rick Cotton, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, NBCUniversal. “We see that as good, long term thinking about the best way to create well-paying jobs in New York State. It’s also another very positive effect of the improvements that Governor Cuomo has made to the state’s production and post-production tax credit programs.”
Signed by Governor Cuomo in July 2012, the new film and tax credit law boosted the available post-production credit from 10% to 30% in the New York metropolitan commuter region, including New York City and Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties. For post-production work in Upstate New York, 35% in tax credits were made available to encourage additional investment and construction of new facilities in the region. Then in April 2013, the Governor signed new legislation further expanding and improving the program, including extending funding through 2019, and lowering the thresholds for VFX and Animation from 75% to 20% of the total VFX /Animation budget or $3 million (whichever is less). Also added was an additional 10% credit on qualified labor starting in 2015 for productions shooting or posting, which means productions will be able to get up to 45% tax credit on labor expenses incurred in the State.
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. The strengthened law was designed to expand state support by specifically focusing on attracting post production work to communities in all corners of the state. At a time when other states are experiencing production flight, New York’s strengthened credit supports a robust industry cluster which has become a major source of direct and indirect employment and economic opportunity for hundreds of thousands of people.
To learn more about the State’s film and television incentive programs, go to: http://www.nylovesfilm.com/tax.asp.
Source: Daemen College