GRANITE FALLS - Stories created for Pioneer Public Television's Postcards program have been chosen as official selections for the nationally prominent, Oscar-qualifying American Documentary film festival that starts on Friday.
Upper Sioux tribal community member Walter "Super" LaBatte will be attending a festival in Palm Springs, California, to represent Pioneer as the stories are shown to documentary film producers from throughout the world. The recognition of Pioneer's work is helping the rural PBS station develop greater capacity to collaborate with national partners and deepen its ability to tell stories of lasting impact and regional significance.
Maya Bdeg'a is a family story that LaBatte shared with Pioneer about a pet pelican that saved a Dakota village on Lake Traverse from attack hundreds of years ago. After traveling to the St. Louis International Film Festival in June 2018 to attend a showing of Maya Bdeg'a, LaBatte thought that he might have played out his 15 minutes of fame.
But then Pioneer received word that the prestigious American Documentary Film Festival (AmDocs) in Palm Springs had decided to show the film - selected from more than 1600 films reviewed for screening consideration. AmDocs also chose to present the biographical piece that the Pioneer "Postcards" team made about LaBatte. Entitled "Super," the story traces LaBatte's journey to fulfillment as a Dakota artist.
"It is really unusual for a film festival like AmDocs to choose to screen more than one film from a producer," said Dana Conroy, who produced the works. "We are lucky to have Super being so willing to travel and represent us," she added. According to Conroy, attending festivals like this is all about the networking. "Who you meet, what other films inspire you and seeing the latest methods and styles to improve your craft make these events so worthwhile to a rural-based PBS station like Pioneer," she said.
"Postcards" is produced by Conroy with videography and editing by Kristofor Gieske and Ben Dempcy. The program is made possible by contributions from the voters of Minnesota through a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Production sponsors for the program include Shalom Hill Farm, Explore Alexandria Tourism and the Lake Region Arts Council.