A Place to Stand is the authorized story of Jimmy Santiago Baca’s transformation from a functionally illiterate convict to an award-winning poet, novelist and screenwriter. It follows Jimmy’s path through childhood abandonment, adolescent drug dealing, and a subsequent 5-year narcotics sentence at Arizona State Prison in Florence, one of the most violent prisons in the country. Jimmy survived by exploring deep within himself, discovering poetry at his soul's core. His writing liberated him from the death and decay that surrounded him, healing the wounds of his childhood and opening him to a new future.


We aim to demonstrate and inspire the possibility of individual transformation and growth. In presenting Jimmy's metamorphosis, we want to plant the seeds of hope, to illustrate that personal transformation is always possible, even behind bars. We will distribute the film to prisons and schools in furtherance of this goal.

Further, we aim to demonstrate the importance of education and its power to change lives. The United States is plagued by the world’s highest incarceration rates, and they are only rising. At the same time, our educational system is falling farther and farther behind. We are not providing for our children, and when they struggle, when they exhibit their dysfunction, we focus on punitive rather than transformative, empowering solutions.

A Place to Stand directly addresses the connection between these two trends and demonstrates how the acts of reading and writing can reduce street and prison violence, decrease recidivism rates, and help individuals confront trauma, abuse, anger and addiction. Jimmy - himself a product of family dysfunction, homelessness, drug abuse, institutionalization and incarceration - speaks directly to those disaffected segments of society who still languish in their illiteracy and resulting sense of inadequacy.



To make a tax-deductible donation through our fiscal sponsor, the Center of Southwest Culture (, write a check to Center of Southwest Culture, put A Place to Stand in the memo and mail the check to:
       Center of Southwest Culture
       500 Copper Avenue NW
       Suite 103
       Albuquerque, NM 87102
We are deeply grateful for any level of support. Every dollar raised will go directly towards the completion, distribution and programming of A Place to Stand.