Dann Bowley, vice president of digital production at Sony Pictures Entertainment, is out of a job.

The man who pieced together Sony’s digital-effects studio was let go last weekend for what industry sources said was a combination of personality conflict with senior executives and concerns that his activities were alienating the special-effects community.

A Sony spokesman would confirm only that Bowley had departed. Bowley could not be reached for comment.

Bowley, who joined Sony two years ago, had spent the last 18 months assembling the studio’s in-house special effects unit.

Since beginning the digital studio project, Bowley has been busy. He recruited Tim McGovern from Metrolight Studios as VP visual effects and built a staff of five engineers.

He also snapped up the optical and motion control equipment from Apogee Prods. to provide more traditional approaches to special F/X.

Bowley reportedly also bought 10 high-powered workstations from Silicon Graphics Inc. for computer-generated animation and other F/X tricks, at $ 25,000 apiece, with more on order.

The first film slated for post-production effects is TriStar’s “So I Married An Axe Murderer.”

But studio sources say that Sony isn’t backing away from its commitment to digital. In fact, the search has already begun for Bowley’s replacement.

Bowley had boasted about Sony’s capability to do large-scale F/X films cost-effectively on its own lot. That had engendered some resentment within the tight-knit and competitive special-effects community.

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