A Place to Stand
A Place to Stand
A Place to Stand
Item#: APL-1112
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Running Time: 83 minutes
With Special Features
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
Grade 9 - Adult

A Film by Daniel Glick and Gabriel Baca



"Daniel Glick’s documentary about Jimmy Santiago Baca [...] is a compelling look at the power of language and a searing account of life as a convict. His introspective poems, set to a moody score, blend seamlessly with the film’s narration to tell his story. Fighting may have kept Baca alive, but writing gave him a future.”
–Santa Fe New Mexican

A Place to Stand presents Jimmy’s compelling story in the the best way: By letting this great poet tell his own tale - and no one can tell a tale like Jimmy Santiago Baca.”
Taylor Hackford, Academy Award-winning Director/Producer

A Place to Stand is an invitation to students to take what is often the worst in their lives and transform it through their courage, love, and work into a triumph as learners and wholly valuable human beings.”
Professor Rex Veeder, Dept of English, St. Cloud University

"The best, hands down, documentary of a poet or about poetry that I’ve ever seen... This is an unbelievable moving story about redemption and the spiritual weight of words. Exceptionally well-filmed...."
– Mary McCray, Big Bang Poetry

"(My students) found the film powerful and inspiring - it's since become a bit of a touchstone in my classes and has positively shifted the tenor of the classroom community."
Jonathan Wright, High School English Teacher, Boulder, CO


Illuminate Film Festival
Napa Valley Film Festival
Boulder INTL Film Festival
Sedona International Film Festival
Maui Film Festival
DOCUtah International Documentary Film Festival
Arizona International Film Festival
Albuquerque Film & Music Experience
SAFilm San Antonio Film Festival
Santa Fe Independent Film Festival




All prices include DVD and limited Public Performance Rights
• K-12 Schools, Public Libraries & Community Groups: $89
• Colleges, Government, Business: $295
• Colleges, Government (with DSL): $395

A Place to Stand tells the story of acclaimed author Jimmy Santiago Baca’s transformation from a functionally illiterate convict to an award-winning poet, novelist and screenwriter.

Based on the memoir of the same name, the film takes viewers into Baca's past and present to uncover how the power of the written word lifted him from the violence and pain that defined his early life. With powerful revelations from family, friends, and fellow inmates, as well as insight into the early writings that first captured Baca's imagination, the film shows how he turned his life around.

A Place to Stand follows Baca's path from childhood abandonment in Estancia, New Mexico, through adolescent drug dealing and a subsequent 5-year narcotics sentence at Arizona State Prison, one of the most violent prisons in the country.

Baca began his incarceration an angry and illiterate young man. Against the odds, he taught himself how to read and write, discovering a passion for poetry that gave him a means of understanding and expressing himself, and that ultimately saved his life. Writing poetry helped him to survive the brutal inhumanity of his incarceration, and eventually to heal the wounds of his childhood and open himself to a whole new future.

In the film, Baca reads some of his poetry while shots of the prison and the surrounding Arizona landscape pan across the screen. Baca’s poems provide a unique window to his mindset at the time as he channeled his frustrations and hopes to paper.

Baca's extraordinary life is both inspiring and haunting, simultaneously an indictment of our current criminal justice system and a model of the potential for human transformation.


Profiles Eric Christo Martinez, a former inmate inspired by Jimmy whose art was used to create animation in the film.


A Curriculum & Workbook developed to be used with the film are available for separate purchase.

Finding A Place to Stand Curriculum
A curriculum designed to support educators in community centers, school-based programs and spaces of incarceration to facilitate critical dialogues and creative engagement with concepts presented in the film.

Getting Free Student Workbook
A companion workbook for students to be used with "Finding A Place to Stand" or on its own. Part-journal, part-workbook with 19 original exercises to spark creativity and self-expression.


Feeding the Roots of Self-Expression & Freedom
Jimmy Santiago Baca collaborated with two National Writing Project Fellows on this teaching tool. Using poems from his incarceration, the activities and questions are designed to take readers on a personal journey, plumbing both the depths of pain and the promise of joy.