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Independent Lens  ·  Episode 1512

Las Marthas


In the lingering aftermath of the U.S.-Mexican War, the border town of Laredo, Texas created an annual debutante ball unlike any other. Today the Martha Washington Ball presents girls in elaborate dresses that take up to a year to create. This film follows two Mexican American girls carrying this gilded tradition on their shoulders in a time of economic uncertainty and tension over immigration.

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