PANHANDLE PBS’ FEBRUARY 17TH PREMIERE OF LAS MARTHAS ON INDEPENDENT LENS TO COINCIDE WITH WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY WEEK

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Modern Mexican American Debutante Reveals Power, Privilege, and Legacy with a Touch of Make-Believe


(San Francisco, CA) — The film Las Marthas enjoys unprecedented access to an exclusive border celebration in honor of George Washington, where Mexican American debutantes dress as American Revolutionaries. Produced and directed by Cristina Ibarra, and produced by Erin Ploss-Campoamor, Las Marthas premieres on Independent Lens, hosted by Stanley Tucci, on Monday, February 17, 2014 (the week of George Washington’s birthday), 9 p.m. on Panhandle PBS.

Every February, one of the largest celebrations of George Washington’s birthday in the world takes place in the border town of Laredo, Texas. This 116-year-old tradition has evolved into an entire month of inventive reenactments and bicultural celebrations, many of them involving Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, their sister city across the border. The most preeminent event of them all, however, is the invitation-only Colonial Ball hosted by the elite Society of Martha Washington.

Society daughters, most of them Mexican American, are invited to debut in elaborate Colonial gowns representing iconic figures from America’s revolutionary history. Their goal: to recreate a party hosted by Martha Washington, but this time set on the US/Mexico border. Las Marthas follows two of the young debutantes one a prominent member of Laredo society and the other a newcomer from Mexico as they prepare for this extraordinary rite of passage.

Visit the Las Marthas companion website (http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/las­marthas) which features information about the film, including an interview with the filmmakers and links and resources pertaining to the film’s subject matter. The site also features a Talkback section for viewers to share their ideas and opinions, preview clips of the film, and more. For downloadable images, visit pbs.org/pressroom/

About Panhandle PBS

Panhandle PBS provides a gathering place for intelligent, trusted community engagement to enlighten, entertain and empower the people of the Texas Panhandle and the world. Licensed to Amarillo College, the station extends the community college philosophy of improving the quality of life for all residents. Panhandle PBS broadcasts on Channel 2.1 in digital High Definition carrying PBS programming and Channel 2.2 in digital Standard Definition carrying Spanish language V-Me programming. For more information, please visit www.panhandlePBS.org.

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