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Freshman Animation Director to Compete on National Stage

Freshman Elsa Lick almost deleted an animated film she made after spending 10 hours on it in Middle School teacher Elissa Donovan’s art class last year. Then she decided not to.

Lick’s decision to keep her two-minute piece turned into a decision to not only save her labor of love, but enter it into Scholastic Arts and Award’s film and animation category this winter. Now, after a few short months, Lick’s artform, a stop-motion film titled, “Paper Poltergeist,” has won a Gold Key and an American Visions Award—recognition that has catapulted Lick’s musings onto the national stage. Her work, along with only five other student pieces from the Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeastern Indiana Region, will be one of just a handful to compete nationally, which places it on a path traveled by the likes of esteemed actor Alan Arkin and groundbreaking director Ken Burns.

Lick said she has always been interested in directing and visual art, but the Scholastic award has solidified her desire to become a film director. “The world needs more female film directors and women have a lot of stories that need to be told,” said Lick, who recently finished a 30-second stop-motion horror short and plans to begin work on her Personal Challenge project four years before it is due as a graduation requirement. “When I work on my stop-motion pieces, I don’t see them as homework. I see them as practice for my career in directing.”

“Elsa is a passionate artist,” Donovan said. “She is incredibly talented and hard working. Her creativity surpasses all logical expectations for her age. She is the real deal!”

Lick said she is still processing the fact that her work will compete on a national level, and she is grateful to her friends and teachers. She also said she is just happy to receive recognition for her art. “I’m really shocked and I am proud,” said Lick. “But I am going up against people who have been doing this for years. I am just glad it got this far.”