Executive Producer Sally Anne Syberg, Animation Director Jan Carlà©e, And Art Director/Designer David Michael Friend

Animation studio SpeakeasyFX, dedicated to creating high-end computer generated character animation and visual effects for the broadcast, feature film, and commercial industries, continues its expansion with the addition of three industry veterans, Executive Producer Sally Anne Syberg, Animation Director Jan Carlà©e, and Art Director/Designer David Michael Friend, it was announced today by SpeakeasyFX Owner/Executive Director Scott Stewart.
SpeakeasyFX recently contracted with Sesame Street for a new segment and is busy designing assets for the 3D episodes that will begin airing in November 2009. All three hires are involved in the creation of this digitally animated television spin-off for Sesame Street.
Of his three new collaborators Scott Stewart enthused, ” I am extremely happy to have Sally Anne, Jan and David join our SpeakeasyFX family. Each brings tremendous talent and energy to our team and I am confident that this will be our strongest, most exciting year.”

Sally Anne Syberg, Executive Producer:

With 25 years in the business, Sally Anne Syberg, an Emmy Award-winning producer, has, for the last ten years, concentrated primarily on the production and development of children’s programming and has produced award-winning projects in a variety of media – 2D and 3D animation, CGI special effects, interactive performance pieces, video games, film and video.

She comes to SpeakeasyFX from FlickerLab (New York, NY), where she developed a pilot with Playhouse Disney, produced “Working Wonders,” interstitial programming (Proctor & Gamble and Tide), and the online video “Making A Difference” (Johnson & Johnson); As a producer at the interactive design studio Possible Worlds (New York, NY), which pioneered a real-time cel animation production system, she produced numerous children’s programs, pilots and tests including “The Phred On Your Head Show” (Noggin), “Jimmy B” (Hallmark Entertainment), “Kim Possible” (Disney TV Animation), “Metalwulf” (MTV Animation), “Between The Lions” (WGBH), Virtual Puppet Big Bird (Sesame Workshop), and an animation employing Bugs Bunny (Warner Brothers Animation), among others. At Protozoa (San Francisco, CA) she was Executive Producer on the motion capture pilot “The Elephant’s Back” (Playhouse Disney) and Senior Producer on “Dilbert,” the first 3D VRML licensed character on the web.

Syberg began her foray into children’s projects at Viacom New Media (New York, NY) where, as Executive Producer, she developed the content for Microsoft Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker, based on existing 2D branded characters that were translated into 3D for the first time, and created a series of children’s titles for CD-Rom; she began her career in the special effects and animation departments of films including “Top Gun,” “RoboCop II,” “The Godfather III,” and others, out of leading studios including Colossal Pictures and Zoetrope Studios.

Jan Carlà©e, Animation Director:

Jan Carlà©e has been working in the animation industry for the past 30 years exploring and combining traditional animation and film techniques with digital technology. After a brief stint working in 2D animation and then as a rostrom animation cameraman, Carlà©e’s foray into computer animation began at MAGI/Synthavision (Elmsford, New York). His arrival coincided with the completion of the company’s digital footage for the movie “TRON” and their expansion into the commercial marketplace. Of note, a special project for the Walt Disney Studios titled “Where The Wild Things Are” was commissioned in 1982 and is considered a first at combining digitally scanned 2D artwork with 3D computer generated backgrounds. Carlà©e was one of the computer animators for the project that was directed by John Lassiter. With an interest in combining computer animation with other film techniques he moved to the award-winning R/Greenberg Associates (New York, New York) which was heralded as the premier facility for optical and motion control technology on the East coast. After several years at RGA winning awards for his commercial work, Carlà©e was offered the opportunity to pursue his interests in combining traditional 2-D animation with digital technology as the Head of Digital Imagery for Don Bluth Entertainment (Dublin, Ireland). This move also allowed Carlà©e to work in long form animation and to contribute to the story department. For the animated feature “A Troll in Central Park”, Carlà©e was asked to set-up a video department and direct a video version of the film that would be used as reference for the 2D animators. Upon completion of the animated feature film “Thumbelina” he was awarded the honor of having his digital footage for that film selected for the Electronic Theater at Siggraph 1993 and was offered a position as director at Blue Sky Studios (Ossining, New York).

His work at Blue Sky for the first six years ranged from award-winning commercials (“Glitches,” “Motts Fruitsations” and “Natures Resource”) to feature effects work on such films as “Alien Resurrection”, “Joe’s Apartment” and “Titan A.E.”. The commencement of the feature length animated film “Ice Age” at Blue Sky allowed him to work with several storyboard artists to develop a number of the cornerstone sequences for that film (Ice Museum, Ice Flume and Sid on Skis). Once storyboarding was well under way, he became one of the two sequence directors for the film. This required Carlà©e to monitor sequences from department to department ensuring continuity till it arrived at the animation department whereby he would supervise the performance of the characters.

With “Ice Age” completed Carlà©e moved to California and worked for PDI/Dreamworks (Redwood City, CA) on “Shrek 2.” He then accepted a position as animation director at Wildbrain, Inc. (San Francisco, CA) directing commercials and working in the development group to initiate a full length animated feature film.

He next Upon accepted the position of Director of Photography for the film “Everyone’s Hero,” produced in Toronto, and Carlà©e spearheaded the creative on the exciting train chase sequence for that film. Before leaving Starz Animation (Toronto, Canada) he directed and produced a new Hellboy animated short titled “The Dark Below.”

David Michael Friend, Art Director/Designer:

For many years, David Michael Friend has been one of New York’s top freelance guns. Specializing in direction, art direction, character design, storyboarding, animatics, background artwork, design, 2D animation, stop motion, After Effects, and Photoshop, he has lent his considerable talents to myriad broadcast, film and children’s book projects.

In recent years Friend has worked with Curious Pictures (on Miller Lite, Dove, Mattel, Disney, and Nickelodeon spots and an HBO special “Smoke Alarm: The Unfiltered Truth About Cigarettes”); FlickerLab (collaborating on Steven Colbert’s Tek Jansen animated series, St. Mary’s Medical Center, St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Ford Vodafone, American Legacy’s anti-smoking campaign and MoveOn PAC ads, and Proctor and Gamble’s “Samantha: An American Girl Holiday” special); Alt Digital (designed and animated Tony Millionaire’s “Maakies” shorts for “Saturday Night Live”); Edgeworx (designed work for Tom Tomorrow’s “This Modern World” animations for “Saturday Night Live”); Sesame Workshop (illustrated on-line “Magic Storybooks” featuring Ernie, Bert, Grover, Big Bird, Zoe, Prairy Dawn and others); Janet Zweig (created conceptual art for installation art projects including “Carry On” featured in New York MTA’s Spring Street station on the NR line); Jim Henson Productions (art directed and created character designs for a non-disclosed CG movie); @radical media (animator for Marvel Comics “Marvel Mania” Theme Restaurants); Baron & Baron (created storyboards for a Diesel commercial); Long Island Child Abuse Prevention Service (designed, directed and animated a series of Internet safety videos shown in New York schools); 70/30 Productions (design work on Cartoon Network’s “SeaLab 2021”); Simon & Schuster (illustrated JT Petty’s “The Squampkin Patch: A Nasselrogt Adventure” and “Clemency Pogue: The Scrivener Bees”); Mondo Publishing (illustrated Alice Low’s “Blueberry Mouse” and the graphic novel “Daniel and the Great Bearded One”); Nearlife (developed texture maps, publicity illustrations and environment posters for the Virtual FishTank); and Hornet (pre-pro designs for commercials); RSA Films (storyboard artist on Starters commercials); and Possible Worlds (numerous animation pitches.)

As part of the puppet community for over a decade, Friend has helped bring forth Drama of Works’ “Doctor Faustus,” “The Ballad of Phineas P. Gage,” “Curiouser and Curiouser” and the “Carnival of Samhain” as well as his own pieces “Lunatic,” “The Bident of Angels,” and “The Typist.” In addition, he recently finished his first short film, “Moonfishing,” part of Heather Henson’s Hand Made Puppet Dreams series.

Sally Anne Syberg, Jan Carlà©e and David Michael Friend join a core SpeakeasyFX creative team which includes Owner/Executive Director Scott Stewart, Managing Director Julie Stewart, Finance Director Ellie Copeland and Legal Counsel John Guiton; Editor Kristy Maslin, Head of 3D Andre Zazzera, Layout Supervisor Dean Jones, and Technical Director Eric Thivierge; Animators Haokun Liang, Kevin Scott, Brad Regier, Michael Wilson, Paul Wei, Jake Kalsbeek, Roman Kobryn, Laura Nattam, Cesar Tafoya, Jesse Cowan and Charlotte Zielinski; IT/System Administrators Todd Brous (Untwist) and Noah Crowley; and an administrative and support team including Mitchell Lotierzo, Josh Eisenberg, Mikaila Munoz, and Beth Dzuricky.