Student-made documentary film “Lady Based” wins award

Mackenzie Hill angles her camera for the next shot. Hill was the writer, director and cinematographer of her film Lady Based. photo provided by Mackenzie Hill

Mackenzie Hill angles her camera for the next shot. Hill was the writer, director and cinematographer of her film “Lady Based.” photo provided by Mackenzie Hill

When senior Mackenzie Hill set out to work on her communication capstone project last semester, she only knew that she wanted to educate others about the art world. Hill hardly could have known then that her documentary “Lady Based,” an exploration of gender in the San Antonio art community, would become an award-winning short film.

As Hill started to interview artists in the community, she began to see that there was more she needed to capture.

When setting out to create her capstone, Hill had no idea what it would be exactly. But she did know that she wanted to educate people on a facet of the art world, whether it be historical or contemporary.

But while she was filming, Hill also began to realize there was more to her capstone than just educating people about the art community.

“While filming ‘Lady Based’ I ended up getting in contact with an art collective called Lady Base Gallery which was the inspiration for the title. From there, I began to interview with some of the women artists at the gallery about their experiences of being artists in San Antonio — and of course, being in San Antonio, a large part of their experience was tied to gender and equality but also to identity. So then ‘Lady Based’ also became about identity as well.”

This additional aspect of the film also helped open Hill’s eyes to yet another aspect of the San Antonio art community. As she was filming “Lady Based,” Hill learned about the disproportional representation of women, Hispanic women and members of the LGBTQ community within the art community of San Antonio.

“Another aspect of the film was lending a voice to the people within the art community who felt that they weren’t being represented or heard.”

Hill found the filming experience to be very rewarding. During the filming process, she was able to get outside of the Trinity bubble and really dive deep into the San Antonio art community. There, she began to see and understand the lack of representation of women within it.

Anel I. Flores talks to Mackenzie Hill about women’s representation in the San Antonio art community. photo provided by Mackenzie Hill

“It was important as a woman and feminist to hear from these women who have completely different lives and experiences than I do,” Hill said. “By talking to women of color, trans women, Hispanic women and learning about their life experiences, I was able to really create a film that not only informed people of their struggles but also gave them a platform to these women to be able to feel heard.”

One of the main goals of “Lady Based” was to share the life experiences of the women within the San Antonio art community. Hill wishes that she had a larger platform to give to these women to share their experiences with everyone, but was happy to give them what she could.

After finishing filming, Mackenzie submitted her film to the short film category of the Broadcasting Education Association Festival of Media Arts, a massive festival with thousands of submissions. Due to its positive message, fascinating content and slick editing, she won an award of excellence. Only a handful of other films out of hundreds shared this honor with “Lady Based.”

“I got to learn so much about this art collective —‘Lady Based’— and I was able to tell their story and through it accomplish all the goals I set out to achieve. It was amazing for me to be able to give a platform to a group as important as Lady Based’s because they are so important in creating a space for people to express themselves and for people to be heard. I was happy to be able to create something I am proud of and to also help a group as important to the community as Lady Base.”

One of the most important parts of a film is the message within it, the idea that the director hopes the audience receives when they watch it.

For “Lady Based,” Hill wanted audiences to leave the film aware of the issues within the art community, but also with a better understanding of the people within it.