This is a film that I made for my masters thesis at the University of Florida. It was officially released for festivals in 2010 and was admitted to the Sarasota Film Festival and other festivals around the country.
"Debutante" is a feature length documentary that challenges the stereotypes surrounding debutante balls by exploring the modern adaptation of an age-old tradition in an idyllic small city in North Carolina.
The film follows Cassidy Cloninger, a career-oriented and socially conscious high school senior, over a seven-month period as she transforms into a debutante. Cassidy and 18 other young women, were chosen from roughly 150 applicants to be part of the 2007 Cary Debutante Society Ball.
The journey begins in May and culminates with the Debutante Ball in December. The audience will get an inside look on a world many people have never seen. A large ballroom is covered in elegant decorations and young women in long white dresses are waltzing in unison. The debutantes are nervous and struggling to remember everything they learned. Parents proudly look on as their daughters experience a ritual that many of them were never able to participate in.
The girls don't know it yet, but the title of "debutante" can open many doors for them. They now have connections to every other debutante around the world and have entered into that same exclusive social class. But, for better or worse, no one will know that these debutantes were chosen because of their character rather than their daddy's checkbooks.