WILL to host screening of 'Las Marthas'

URBANA — WILL's Community Cinema screening and discussion at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Spurlock Museum will focus on "Las Marthas," a documentary about the annual debutante ball for Mexican-American girls in Laredo, Texas.

The event dates from the aftermath of the U.S.-Mexican War. The film follows two girls who are carrying on this tradition during a time of economic uncertainty and political tension over immigration.

Illinois Public Media (WILL) reporter Sean Powers will moderate the post-screening discussion, featuring:

— Julie A. Dowling, a University of Illinois associate professor of Latina/Latino studies and sociology, an expert in the area of Latino racial identity construction and racial attitudes and the author of the forthcoming book "Mexican Americans and the Question of Race." She is a native of Texas.

— Robert M. Morrissey, a UI assistant professor of history and a specialist in the history of colonial America and the American frontier and borderlands.

— Cele Otnes, UI professor of business administration, whose area of research is ritual-based consumer behavior, such as weddings and gift giving. She is the co-author of "Cinderella Dreams: The Allure of the Lavish Wedding."

— Angharad N. Valdivia, UI professor of Latina/Latino studies, Latin American and Caribbean studies, media and cinema studies, gender and women's studies, and the Center for Global Studies. In her research, she focuses on gender and transnational identity issues, particularly those of young Latina women in the U.S. She is the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles.

"Las Marthas" will premiere on the PBS series "Independent Lens" at 9 p.m. Feb. 17, including on WILL-TV. Admission to the Community Cinema screening is free. The Spurlock Museum is at 600 S. Gregory St., U.

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