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Calabash Animation Sold to Veteran Staffers

Ed Newmann and Monca Kendall, founder/owners of Chicago-based Calabash Animation, one of the leading privately-owned animation studios in the country, have sold the company to Wayne Brejcha and Sean Henry. Brejcha, who joined Calabash in 1990, takes over as chairman and Animation director, and Henry, who joined in 1998, will be president.

Wayne and Sean are uniquely gifted individuals with wide-ranging interests and amazing intelligence, said Newmann. Both of these guys are intensely creative and innovative thinkers, and I know they will take the company to great new heights.

Brejcha and Henry have successfully collaborated on numerous animation projects since joining Calabash including spots for Lucky Charms, Trix and HoneyNut Cheerios cereals, Little Caesars Pizza, The Keebler Elves, California Raisins/Brachs Candy and more.

The two have extensive backgrounds in art and technology, often incorporating traditional cel animation with computer animation, Together, they have created effects for a wide rage of projects including independent feature films such as THE SECRET (directed by Melinda Roenisch), and SUSPENDED ANIMATION (directed by John Hancock).

Wayne is a true Renaissance Man, who can give you a brilliant dissertation on the stylistic innovations of every animator from Windsor McKay to Lotte Reiniger, Newmann added. He can easily expound upon the kinesiological principals that inform an animated characters impossible antics--on top of which he is a designer and animator and is also a designer of astonishing ability. Sean is one of those gifted artists who is equally outstanding in 2D and 3D animation. He has not only mastered the principals of design, staging, performance and showmanship, he and can actually build and program his own computers!

Newmann and Kendall founded Calabash in 1984. Their first national commercial account was for Coors Light Beer (FCB, Chicago) for which they created a Silver Bullet beer can that wreaked happy havoc. Recent projects include TV spots for The California State Fair (Mering & Assoc., Sacramento), Hawaiian Punch (FCB/Chicago) and Keebler Club Crackers (Leo Burnett/Chicago).

We chose Wayne and Sean to take over the company for several reasons, says Newmann. They make an excellent team and both of them have long been an integral part of Calabash Animation. They complement one anothers strengths and abilities extraordinarily well, and their contribution to Calabashs success over the years has been incalculable.

Newmann and Kendall will remain at Calabash in their present roles as independent contractors for at least five years while also pursuing long form projects including animated films and childrens books. Calabashs first original animated short, STUBBLE TROUBLE was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Animated Short Subject) in 2002.

This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter, says Henry. Ive always considered it a great honor to be part of the team at Calabash, to have the opportunity to collaborate with such talented individuals on products of uncompromising quality. I look forward to continuing the tradition and to exploring new frontiers.

Calabash Animation ( provides cel and computer animation to advertising clients around the country including Saatchi & Saatchi/NY, Leo Burnett/Chicago, FCB/Chicago, Cliff Freeman & Associates/NY, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, SF, among many others. For more information or to see a reel please call Monica Kendall at (312) 243-3433 or e-mail