Five-time Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Ken Ralston ("Forrest Gump") is leaving Industrial Light & Magic after 18 years to become president of Sony Pictures Imageworks.
Sony, which is expected to make a formal announcement of the deal today--is looking to Ralston to enhance its 3-year-old in-house digital production unit and make it more competitive with the industry's more prominent effects houses such as ILM.
Ralston will spearhead the division's work in digital imaging and visual effects for all visual entertainment media. In addition to continuing to provide effects for in-house movies from Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures, Imageworks hopes to attract more projects from outside the Sony Pictures family.
Expected to assume his new Sony post at the end of this year, Ralston is currently finishing effects for TriStar's upcoming holiday movie "Jumanji," starring Robin Williams.