SANTA FE, N.M. — It all started with a prison.
For Jimmy Santiago Baca life in prison would be the factor that pushed him to do better for himself and become a writer.
For Daniel Glick, the prison – or visiting of the prison – was the inspiration in reading Baca’s book, “A Place to Stand.”
The book was written 10 years ago by Baca, who described what it was like to be locked up in the Arizona prison during the 1970s.
After reading the book, Glick was hooked and offered to make the novel into a documentary-style feature film.
After five years of working on it, Glick is readying the release of “A Place to Stand.” The film will have its world premiere at the James A. Little Theater in Santa Fe.
“There’s a lot of preparation going on,” Glick says with a laugh. “It amazes me still how much work goes into planning the release and premiere of a movie. It’ll slow down after the premiere. It’s also exciting to have the movie play on the big screen.”
Glick grew up in New York and New Jersey and a few years ago he moved to the Duke City to begin filming the project. Taking inspiration from a life-altering visit to a penitentiary in upstate New York, Glick was ready to tell the story of the heaviness of life in prison.
After contacting Baca via the Internet, he was ready to begin the journey.
“I didn’t know what to expect or what would come out of this,” Glick says. “I gathered up a few people who would work on the movie and we were off.”
Most of the filming of “A Place to Stand” was in New Mexico. Other locations included Arizona, Texas and Montana.
Glick says filming in Arizona and New Mexico were important locations because Baca spent time in an Arizona prison and he wanted to get a glimpse of life in Baca’s home state of New Mexico.
“We filmed in Montana because we found this abandoned prison that was very similar to the one Jimmy was in,” Glick says. “We also didn’t have a ton of access to working prisons because they are full of inmates. This was a great find for us.”
Baca, who has built a strong career as a writer and poet, says he was more than happy to leave “A Place to Stand” in Glick’s hands.
“I had offers from other people and studios to make this into a film,” he says. “I didn’t want to go the Hollywood route.”
Instead, Baca put his faith in Glick and his crew to do the film.
“What happens a lot in today’s world is that young people aren’t given a chance,” Baca says. “They are kept at bay by older people who think they know better. This, in turn, kills their spirit and willingness to try anything. I decided to let them fly with this project and I couldn’t be any happier.”
Glick reached out through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter to raise most of the funds.
“Once people started hearing about it, the project took off,” Glick says. “This is such an important subject to talk about because you really don’t want to see what real prison life is like.”
Glick says after the premiere of the film in Santa Fe, he’s going to work on distribution through the education fields.
“I want to get this into the schools and centers,” Glick says. “Jimmy had a rough beginning to his life and though he was in prison, he decided to turn his life around and become a successful poet and writer. He beat the odds and they were always against him.”
GRRM IS BACK: Calling all “Game of Thrones” fans. George R.R. Martin will be one of the featured guests on ¡Colores! at 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 26, on New Mexico PBS Channel 5.1.
In the conversation Martin shares insights into his writing, stories, characters and how the transporting effect of fantasy inspires him to create such engrossing works.
“I want people to feel as if they lived what they’re reading in my book,” Martin says. “I want to put them there, in the moment, in the scene, in Westeros, in King’s Landing, in Winterfell, and let them feel all the emotions the character’s feeling.”