Georgina Cahill captures art frame by frame


Convent of the Sacred Heart junior Georgina Cahill has plenty on her palette as a thriving visual artist, filmmaker, and student. Claymation, however, has slowly come into focus at the end of her lens.
Georgina’s love for art began when she was three years old. Her mother, Mrs. Jennifer Cahill, a former designer for Ralph Lauren, has always encouraged her love for the arts.
Georgina pursues many forms of art, but she especially enjoys filmmaking as a means of expression that touches upon many art styles. She first became particularly interested in Claymation as a child after watching Ms. Suzie Templeton’s 30 minute Academy Award winning Claymation film “Peter and the Wolf.” Georgina then decided to try her hand at Claymation and cultivated a true passion for it.
“Filmmaking involves all aspects of art into one,” Georgina said. “It really combines all my interests.”
Claymation requires a lot of work because many frames are necessary to give the illusion of movement and fluidity. It takes Georgina around 24 hours to make the characters and sets for one video. She uses Sculpey modeling clay and mixed mediums to form characters and backgrounds. It then takes roughly 72 hours of filming, followed by 12 to 15 hours of editing and voiceovers to deliver a finished piece.
Georgina’s inspiration for a storyline is attributed to many of her strange dreams and cartoons. She writes scripts as a baseline from which she can work, and then changes dialogue to work with the scenes as they unfold. The unique designs of her characters are inspired and thoughtful.
“When I’m making a movie I try and ‘watch it’ in my mind and imagine the voices of the characters. I think of the character and what their personality would be to decide the final design,” Georgina said.
While most stop motion uses 24 frames per second (fps), Georgina has transitioned to 30 fps for smoother images in her films. She created one of her shorter Claymation pieces, a one-minute-long public service announcement about the benefits of recycling cars, using 1,800 frames in total.
Her films have been shown and have won many awards at high school festivals, galleries, and competitions. Last year, her piece “Karmaleon”  not only was a finalist at the Hotchkiss Film Festival and an official selection for animation at the All America High School Film Festival, but also won second place in the Animation category at the Greenwich Youth Film Festival. The video won a Silver Key for the 2015 Scholastic Awards Competition in the Film and Animation category.
Another movie she recently created, “This is Our Story,” won first place at the Greenwich Youth Film Festival in the Animation category. It also won first place at the Columbia Scholastic Press Gold Circle Awards as a Video Commercial in the Digital Media category where eighteen other Sacred Heart students in the Broadcast Journalism and Journalism programs were recognized.
“I’ve grown a lot since my first film, and doing this over and over again has helped me progress,” Georgina said.

Claymation still frame, courtesy of Georgina Cahill

Georgina attributes much of this perseverance and growth in filmmaking to Sacred Heart’s Broadcast Journalism Program, and its Broadcast Journalism Studio Director and Broadcast Journalism Teacher Ms. Ellyn Stewart. 

“I’ve really loved being in the broadcast journalism program over the past few years.  I’m so thankful for Ms. Stewart, the director of the program, who has provided me with so many opportunities that have really helped me grow as a filmmaker and allowed me to make a concrete decision that I would like to go into the film industry one day,” Georgina said. 

This past summer, Georgina attended a six-week pre-college summer program at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. During this course, she primarily studied filmmaking and enjoyed other art classes as electives. She says the experience definitely improved the quality of her work and her thought process.
Georgina is also very involved in the arts at Sacred Heart. She is the layout editor for Sacred Heart’s art and literary magazine, Perspectives, and has also made posters for plays and musicals for the last three years. Her artwork is commonly featured in Voices, Sacred Heart’s foreign language magazine, and Perspectives. Georgina recently worked as an assistant teacher for Sacred Heart’s After School Claymation program with the Lower School students for five weeks, from January 14 to February 18. 
Georgina aspires to produce films throughout her life, and to continue cultivating her Claymation, animation, and artistic talents. 
“It helped me experience different forms of art and see how the past has shaped artistic expression today” Georgina said.
Watch some more of Georgina’s award-winning work on her Vimeo page.

– Nebai Hernandez, Staff Writer