The Debutantes


EVENT TYPE: Competition Documentary Features

RUN TIME: 96 Minutes

The Debutante is a Black girl coming-of-age story about an intergenerational group of women and girls revitalizing a long-lost tradition — the debutante ball.

The film follows Canton, Ohio's first group of Black debutantes in a decade as they prepare for the event: learning to waltz, taking etiquette classes, and securing escorts.

The debutante ball has long been the ultimate manifestation of middle class respectability politics: a presentation to society in line with all that 'society' dictates and deems acceptable in appearance and behavior.

But that was then.

Now a new generation of young Black women must decide just how much of that past to embrace as they chart a new future. Will these girls reject or embrace these traditional blueprints for advancement? Must they truly act and look a certain way to realize dreams of being the first to go to college, or to become doctors and successful business owners?

This film is an excavation of the ways Black women and girls have historically performed, and presently perform for the world while trying to learn and understand who they are, where they came from and where they're going. It's a story about the joys of childhood, the excitement of transition, and how to create your own magic.

It's a film about becoming your authentic self.


Director(s): Contessa Gayles

Producer(s): Alyse Shorland, Jannat Gargi, Molly OBrien, Aya Sloan

Cast: Dedra Robbins, Amelia Boles, Teylar Bradley



6:30 PM — Skylight Cinema 5 - 350 Southwest A St