BATON ROUGE, La. — A higher education program to provide workforce development in digital media is the latest recipient of an award from Louisiana’s new Entertainment Development Fund. The Digital Media Institute at InterTech, or DMII, a division of the Shreveport-based BRF, will receive $500,000 to help prepare Louisiana college students to work as professional digital artists with high tech skills in the latest industry techniques.
The institute will develop distance learning offerings for students at the University of New Orleans, Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and Nunez Community College in Chalmette. The award will be made in two annual installments of $250,000. It will cover faculty and staff salaries, IT services, administrative costs and other expenses associated with the distance learning program.
“The Entertainment Development Fund boosts workforce education and development and provides opportunities for our state’s content creators, like those at the Digital Media Institute,” Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson said. “We congratulate DMII on its expansion through UNO, Northwestern and Nunez as they extend more opportunities for Louisiana residents to obtain the education and training needed to contribute to our entertainment industry.”
Through the new program, students at UNO, Northwestern and Nunez will gain access to DMII’s accredited one-year certificate program in Animation, Visual Effects and Interactive Content, or AVEI. DMII will expand the program to multiple on-site classrooms and implement online offerings statewide, making the program more affordable and accessible. The AVEI program will be available on site in four locations as well as online day or night.
“Through the Animation, Visual Effects and interactive Content program, students will learn 3D modeling, texturing, animation, motion capture, digital cinema, virtual production, virtual reality and augmented reality content, digital compositing and editing on the same tech used by major studios,” DMII Executive Director John Miralles said. “Our model is responsive to the industry’s desire to have useful skills on day one of employment.”
“Our goal through these partnerships is to make digital media education more accessible to more Louisiana students,” BRF President and CEO Dr. John F. George Jr. said. “Building a knowledge-based economy through our workforce is an important component of economic development and BRF’s mission.”
UNO hopes to expand the courses available within its Film Production, Computer Science and Fine Arts programs and provide greater alignment with workforce needs, said Matt Tarr, UNO’s vice president of research and economic development.
“At UNO, we are excited about the opportunities this partnership will give our students and the community of businesses looking for graduates with key skills,” Tarr said. “DMII’s courses align with our mission of making sure our graduates are workforce-ready and prepared to succeed.”
The one-year certificate program creates an attractive credentialing option for students seeking a skillset that prepares them for digital media and the film industry, said Dr. Darlene Williams, Northwestern’s vice president for technology, innovation and economic development.
“Northwestern will assist DMII in marketing the offering and will create local accessibility by providing classroom space,” Williams said.
Nunez Chancellor Dr. Tina Tinney said St. Bernard Parish is well suited to provide DMII with a steady stream of students thanks to the success of The Ranch Film Studios in Chalmette and the media program already in place at Chalmette High School.
“We have to be very strategic about our partnerships,” Tinney said. “DMII is dedicated to helping students learn by doing and putting those students to work. So are we. This will be a mutually beneficial partnership that offers a workforce pipeline in direct response to our regional industry needs.”
The Entertainment Development Fund is a key feature of the motion picture incentive program enhancements signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards in 2017. This is the fifth EDF award announced since the program was launched earlier this year.
BRF’s Digital Media Institute at InterTech offers digital media education and training on industry-grade hardware and software. DMII offers two intensive model certificate programs at an accelerated speed from leaders in the industry, at a reduced tuition rate. DMII is a nationally accredited, degree-granting institution offering a two-year associate in Advertising Design. This initiative of BRF is headquartered at InterTech 1 in Shreveport. For more information, visit DMI.edu.
About Louisiana Entertainment
Louisiana is one of the top destinations in the world for motion picture production; digital interactive and software development projects; live performance; and sound recording. With state-of-the-art facilities, a wealth of talent, production-friendly communities and a competitive incentive program, Louisiana is the perfect location for the entertainment industries. For more information on Louisiana film, digital interactive, live performance and sound recording programs, visit Louisiana Entertainment, a division of Louisiana Economic Development, at louisianaentertainment.gov.