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'Cowgirls With Cameras' aims to turn North Texas teenage girls into filmmakers

A filmmaking camp for teenage girls started this week in Cleburne, with the goal of producing a short documentary

CLEBURNE, Texas — While Cleburne teenager Lily Meade spends a lot of time in the horse stable, the circumstances were a lot different last Thursday.

"This is a little different?" we said.

"Yeah," she responded with a laugh.

This time, six young women were learning how to become filmmakers.

"It's been a crash course," said Chad Mathews, executive director of the Lone Star Film Society.

They're calling it "Cowgirls with Cameras." It's a free filmmaking camp for teenaged girls, put on by the Lone Star Film Society and the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, whose motto is "The women who shape the west ... change the world."

"This - inspiring young girls to do something different - may be out of their box, is right up that alley," said Diana Vela, associate executive director of the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

Thursday was day one of learning the ins and outs of filmmaking. The girls, ranging between the ages of 13 and 16, are tasked with creating a short documentary about "Wings of Hope," an equestrian therapy organization in Johnson County. The documentary will eventually be screened at the Lone Star Film Festival in November.

Mathews, who's teaching the camp and is a filmmaker himself, said women are under-represented in the filmmaking.

"Women definitely struggle to get a leg up in the film industry," he said.

He hopes the camp inspires these ladies to enter it.

Meade, who is 16, hadn't considered being a filmmaker - but is now.

"I know there's a lot of hard work that goes into it and not everybody's cut out for it, but I'm wiling to give it a try," she said.

"One of these girls could be a future Oscar winner, you know?" Mathews said. "They're starting their filmmaking journey right now with us and that's cool."

Give a cowgirl a camera and anything's possible.

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