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Freshman Receives Regional Award for Short Film

Read about Elsa’s accomplishments and read about her creative process, below.


Freshman Elsa Lick almost deleted an animated film she made after spending 10 hours on it in art class last year.

But 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 Art & Writing Awards’ film and animation category this winter.

Now, after a few short months, Lick’s 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 is recently finished a 30-second stop-motion horror short and plans to begin work on her Personal Challenge-Seven Hills signature graduation requirement-four years before it is due. “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.”

Lick completed “Paper Poltergeist” last year, as part of her eighth-grade art project in Seven Hills art teacher Elissa Donovan’s class. Donovan called Elsa a passionate artist. “She is incredibly talented and hard working,” said Donovan. “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.e She also said she is just happy to receive recognition for her art.

“I’m really shocked and I am proud,” said Lick. “But my work is going up against people who have been doing this for years and juniors and freshmen in high school. I am just glad it got this far.”