The next time you pass 1048 Niagara Street, slow down and look west. There you will see a beautiful old brick building facing the street. But did you even notice the narrow alleys that lead to the rear of the building on either side? These alleys are home to a number of designers, makers and producers, including Andy Morin, who recently launched a stage studio called Avenir Cine.
Earlier today, I popped by the fledgling studio to see what was what. As I was walking towards the building, a garage door suddenly opened and Andy came out. He was surrounded by a number of young people who appeared to have completed a video shoot. As we entered the 3,200 square foot space, Andy directed me to a living room, where many of his pre-production meetings are held. It was there that he told me that he and his father – Ray – had built up the once empty space. Being an old hat in this type of work, Ray led the way, which Andy told me was a great link building experience. Together they managed to reconstruct a professional studio with all the trappings.
“The building has big bones,” Andy said. “We cut out the brick windows to let in natural light. It was an old machine shop – you can imagine the state of it… but it gave us a blank slate to work with, which was part of the fun.”
The result is a movie-ready outfit with a series of versatile spaces, including a green screen, product shoot bay, white infinity space, storage room, station for custom builds, storage area of props, space for portrait photography, and plenty of room to produce and collaborate. It was something Buffalo needed – on this scaleaccording to Andy.
“Buffalo lacked a creative video space like this,” Andy said. “I had trouble finding this type of studio. I moved back to Buffalo in 2011. Since then, film culture has become much more sophisticated. The scene quickly changed. The industry people here are hungry. They are also passionate and grateful. Recently, I got involved in the local film community. It plugged me into the scene. We have people – talent in the workplace has increased dramatically over the past decade. Now we need more bodies of work. There are a lot of bigger production spaces – I wanted to build something for day to day film and video projects like commercials, music videos, talking head productions…it’s a video space, and it is also a light events space. It is a meeting place for young people and the generation of ideas. I let them in here, and they start doing things. It’s important to give them a chance, share ideas and see what they come up with.
Although Andy is happy with the way things are going at Avenir Cine, there is always room to grow.
“Look up there [pointing]. This is where we will create a YouTube and podcast studio,” he shared. “It’s starting to get very comfortable here.”
Funny to think that right across on Niagara Street, a new 51,350 SF Niagara Street Studio complex is being built. It’s a mere coincidence that Andy built his new studio within sight of this development. The proximity bodes well for Andy, who believes there’s plenty of room for film production studios of all sizes and capacities in Buffalo. It’s a far cry from ten years ago, when it seemed like everyone was fighting over the remains that fell on the cutting room floor.
If you build it, they will come. No. They are already there, it only remains to welcome them now.
Connect: Avenir Ciné | 1048 Niagara Street | Buffalo NY 14201 | (716) 200-8554 | [email protected]