By Mariah Ore Catamount Films
BOZEMAN – On Feb. 25 at 7 p.m., the Emerson Theater will host the celebrated film, “A Place to Stand.” The evening includes a Q-and-A session with Jimmy Santiago Baca a renowned poet and the film’s subject.
When he was sentenced to five years in in Arizona State Prison on a narcotics charge in 1973, Jimmy Santiago Baca was 21 years old. Like many who end up in prison, Baca had been in and out of institutions throughout his life, starting when he and his two siblings were placed in an orphanage when he was a small child.
As a teenager, Baca spent periods of time in school but wound up in trouble often, occasionally landing in juvenile detention centers or jail. By the time he received the five-year sentence in 1973, Baca had still never learned to read.
“The most painful thing about not knowing how to read or write is that you can’t express your
emotions,” Baca said. “You can’t conceptualize imaginatively. It takes away that whole realm.”
Now, as one of the best-known living poets in America, Baca has mastered the art of expressing his emotions through the written word.
The documentary tells the story of how Baca first discovered the power of language while behind bars in one of the most violent prisons in the country. The film details his struggle to teach himself to read as well as his radical transformation from violent criminal to beloved poet.
“A Place to Stand” encapsulates an honest, raw tale of personal growth that shows just how possible it can be for anyone to overcome a circumstance.
A VIP reception with Jimmy Santiago Baca and Director Daniel Glick begins at 6 p.m. (by request at firstname.lastname@example.org), and the screening starts at 7 p.m.