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Loyola to Create Virtual Filmmaking Facility

  • New cutting-edge in-house studio-quality production space will have immersive 3-D interactive technology.

  • Three-year, reimbursable $750,000 grant will also help to purchase top-tier cameras and other specialized equipment.

  • State support ‘will take Loyola Film’s production technology to an entirely new level.’ 

NEW ORLEANS – Loyola University New Orleans’ award-winning digital filmmaking program will receive $750,000 from Louisiana’s Entertainment Development Fund to establish a new cutting-edge production facility that helps educate and train students for post-production work in the rapidly expanding virtual filmmaking sector.

The funds, to be paid in $250,000 annual installments over three years, will be used to create a studio-quality production space in the College of Music and Media, including a high-resolution “Volume Wall.” The immersive 3-D interactive technology uses Light-Emitting Diode panels, game engines and motion-sensitive cameras to create interactive virtual worlds like those in Disney and Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian. 

Funds will also help to purchase top-tier cameras and other specialized equipment for use by faculty and students as they develop their skills.

“Educating and training tomorrow’s leaders of the entertainment industry is a role we take very seriously as we position Louisiana for increased job creation and real economic growth,” said Chris Stelly, executive director of Louisiana Entertainment, a division of LED. “With the help of this grant, Loyola will help to develop the next generation of creative professionals working in the film industry in Louisiana. LED is excited to be a partner in this endeavor.”

The Entertainment Development Fund supports workforce development for the state’s entertainment industry through education and training programs. This is the second EDF award received by Loyola; in 2021, LED awarded Loyola’s Department of Digital Filmmaking $248,795 to purchase specialized equipment to increase training opportunities in post-production in the Louisiana film industry.

“This grant will take Loyola Film’s production technology to an entirely new level. It’s an absolute game-changer,” said Dr. Miles Doleac, Chair of the Loyola New Orleans Department of Digital Filmmaking. “Our students will now learn and shoot with studio-grade cameras and lighting gear and have access to the Volume tech that many think is the future of our medium. Loyola Film majors will be able to imagine and create locations for their projects that would have been heretofore impossible. We are incredibly grateful to the Louisiana Entertainment Development Fund for their generous support.”

Loyola’s digital filmmaking studio will be completely renovated and soundproofed to provide students a professional studio-quality atmosphere. The university will hire a faculty member and expert in Volume installation and Unreal technology to teach students and help train permanent faculty in virtual filmmaking. The new cameras and equipment will be available for use by students this fall; studio renovations will begin by fall 2025, and students are expected to be shooting projects on the Volume stage during the 2026-2027 academic year.

“This is truly a transformational gift to one of our fastest-growing programs,” said Dr. Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Dean of Loyola’s College of Music and Media. “We are grateful for LED’s trust and generosity. Not only will our students benefit, but our community – locally and globally – will be enhanced because the next generation of filmmakers will receive dynamic training and access to state-of-the-art equipment to go forth and produce mission-driven work that aligns with our Jesuit mission.”

Through the Entertainment Development Fund, LED has invested more than $8.4 million to date in education and workforce development programs at higher education and nonprofit institutions throughout Louisiana. The fund initiative earned top honors at the 2023 International Economic Development Council Awards ceremony in September, receiving a Gold Award for Innovative Programs and Initiatives as well as a nomination for Best in Show, recognizing the best economic development program in all categories.


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