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Project Premiere: Cristina Ibarra’s “Las Marthas” at San Antonio CineFestival and Streaming on PBS Video

Cristina Ibarra (2005 Film/Video) premieres her Creative Capital-supported documentary, Las Marthas, in San Antonio’s CineFestival with a screening on Tuesday, February 25 at 9:00pm. The film is the winner of the festival’s Special Jury Award. CineFestival will be showing the Director's Cut (69 min.) and the filmmaker will be in attendance for a Q&A after the screening. Other upcoming festival screenings include San Diego Latino Film Festival, Chicago Latino Film Festival and Ambulante California.

Las Marthas, praised by The New York Times as "a striking alternative portrait of border-town life," documents the annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas. Part of the largest celebration of George Washington's birthday in the world, this unique event presents a select group of mostly Mexican-American girls at a lavish Colonial Ball. Their goal: to recreate a party hosted by Martha Washington, but this time set along the U.S./Mexico border. Las Marthas follows two of the girls—one a prominent member of Laredo society and the other a newcomer from Mexico—as they prepare for this extraordinary rite of passage. A year in the making, each girl’s dress can weigh up to 100 lbs and cost up to $30,000—nearly the median family income of Laredo. Las Marthas unravels the origins of the celebration and why, in a town like Laredo, the Washington’s Birthday Celebration has managed to persevere and even flourish thanks to the Mexican-American girls who wear the gilded burden of tradition.

Las Marthas had its broadcast premiere on PBS’s Independent Lens on February 17 and is available to stream online through PBS Video until March 19. You can watch the trailer and clips from the film on Creative Capital’s blog, The Lab.

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