Pioneer PBS takes first place at film festival
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 Videographer Kristofor Gieske, storyteller Walter “Super” LaBatte Jr. and producer Dana Conroy.
Kristofor Gieske, Walter “Super” LaBatte Jr. and Dana Conroy

Download the photo Kristofor Gieske, Walter “Super” LaBatte Jr. and Dana Conroy.

GRANITE FALLS, Minn. — An animated film from the Pioneer PBS Postcards series was awarded first place at the Square Lake Film & Music Festival held August 10th, 2019 near Stillwater. The film Maya Bdeg’a is a Lakota tale narrated by Walter “Super” LaBatte Jr. of Granite Falls and is based on a story that LaBatte heard as a child that had passed down through the generations. Maya Bdeg’a takes place on the Minnesota side of Lake Traverse and features striking original illustrations by graphic artist Tate Marshall. The film was produced by Pioneer PBS’ Dana Conroy with animation by Kristofor Gieske and videography by Ben Dempcy.

“This film was one that embodied what we hope to do with the Square Lake Festival,” said coordinator Paul Creager. “It is creatively courageous, short run time and Minnesota made.”

In 2018, Maya Bdeg’a was issued an Emmy® Award by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Since that time, the film has been featured at film festivals in St. Louis, Palm Springs, Rhode Island, Wrenshall and Rapid City. To watch Maya Bdeg'a visit

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