ULL Visual FX program in the works

ULL Visual FX program in the works

The new visual effects program will give UL Lafayette students marketable skills in the state’s expanding entertainment and digital media sectors. Photo courtesy of ULL.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL) will establish a visual effects program thanks to an award from Louisiana’s Entertainment Development Fund. The university will receive $920,000 to develop the ULL Visual FX program and launch a location-scouting platform based on virtual reality technology.

The ULL initiative is intended to enhance the state’s position as a visual FX production hub, bringing music and film industries to the state. They plan to increase professional development efforts and add VR promotion of Louisiana’s diverse locations, as advised by local industry. With the award, the university will receive $184,000 yearly to cover instructional and infrastructure development costs for five years.

“The entertainment production industry in Louisiana continues to expand and diversify in ways that create career opportunities for our skilled entertainment workforce,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “With this latest Entertainment Development Fund award, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will add an exciting new field of study that fills the talent pipeline with qualified candidates for in-demand visual effects jobs. In addition, the university will develop a useful scouting platform to improve film production locations’ competitiveness across the state.”

The program will provide a highly specialized curriculum preparing students for sophisticated digital content creation careers. Moving Images Arts Program students will get hands-on practical experience by helping to develop the immersive location scouting platform. Selecting a physical site for a project can be constrained by scheduling and budgeting limitations; the VR scouting tool will allow for a cost-effective alternative for exploring, interacting and annotating sites.

“We are very excited to partner with Louisiana Economic Development to bring a visual effects certification program to the state of Louisiana,” said Dr. Arun Kulshreshth, the project lead from UL Lafayette. “This certification program is a pathway for the state citizens to prepare for and secure a high-wage, high-technology employment in the film and television industries.”

The program is designed to provide direct economic and educational benefits. In doing work promoting Louisiana as a prime motion picture production destination, UL Lafayette students will jump-start their careers as filmmakers by gaining marketable skills and enhanced knowledge of the state’s resources and visual effects infrastructure.

“Lafayette and Acadiana have felt the positive impact of small to mid-sized film productions for decades,” said Mandi D. Mitchell, president and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority. “Those impacts don’t end when the cameras stop rolling. Post-production work, including visual effects, can extend a production’s local impact when that work is completed by local talent. UL Lafayette’s visual effects curriculum and location scouting initiative will provide the necessary training and resources to develop a skilled local workforce for future film activity, helping to make Lafayette a vital production hub in Louisiana.”

This is the ninth Entertainment Development Fund award announced by Louisiana Economic Development since the program was launched. Previous awards were made to higher education institutions and nonprofit community programs in Shreveport, Natchitoches, Thibodaux, Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

For more information, visit ULL’s website.

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