New Jersey-based animation studio Speakeasy FX has announced three new hires intended to bolster its lineup of animators and producers.

Executive producer Sally Anne Syberg, animation director Jan Carlée, and art director/designer David Michael Friend will join the studio. All three will be involved in the digitally animated TV spinoff for Sesame Street that Speakeasy FX is currently working on.

The studio creates CG character animation and VFX for the broadcast, feature film, and commercial industries. It has recently been contracted by Sesame Street for a new segmnt, and is currently designing assets for the show's 3D episodes, which will air in November 2009.

SpeakeasyFX owner Scott Stewart comments: “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 has 25 years' industry experience and has won Emmy Awards; for the last decade she has focused on 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.

Jan Carlée has been working in the animation industry for the past 30 years across both traditional and digital animation; his cutting-edge projects have included Tron, and a special project for the Walt Disney Studios titled "Where The Wild Things Are", which was commissioned in 1982 and is considered a first at combining digitally scanned 2D artwork with 3D computer generated backgrounds.

He has also done effects work on such films as "Alien Resurrection", "Joe's Apartment" and "Titan A.E.”, and created key sequences for "Ice Age" and "Shrek 2".

For many years, David Michael Friend has been a leading New York freelancer. Specializing in direction, art direction, character design, storyboarding, animatics, background artwork, design, 2D animation, stop motion, After Effects, and Photoshop, he has worked on myriad broadcast, film and children’s book projects.

His portfolio includes projects for HBO, Curious Pictures, FlickerLab, Edgeworz, Sesame Worshops, Jim Henson Productions, Marvel Comics, Cartoon Network, Simon & Schuster and a range of other publishing and production companies.

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.