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Documentary Series is a ‘Thing and Spirit Both’

by Rod Jones

The 18th annual Documentary Film Series at Oklahoma City University will open at 2 p.m. April 3 with Daniel Glick’s “A Place to Stand.” All films in the series will be screened free to the public in the Kerr McGee Auditorium in Meinders School of Business at N.W. 27th Street and Blackwelder Avenue.

The series is made possible through a gift from the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Endowment Fund.

“A Place to Stand” tells the story of celebrated poet and Santa Fe, N.M., native Jimmy Santiago Baca. Baca was a petty thief and a drug dealer when he was sentenced to five years in one of the deadliest prisons in America, the Arizona State Prison.

He began his incarceration violent, angry and illiterate, yet taught himself how to read and write, discovering a passion for poetry that ultimately saved his life. The film is inspired by Baca’s best-selling memoir of the same name published in 2001. The book was called “elegant and gripping” (Los Angeles Times) and “an astonishing narrative that affirms the triumph of the human spirit” (Arizona Daily Star).

“Jimmy’s story inspires the possibility of individual transformation, regardless of circumstance,” Glick said. “Our mission is to make this example of dramatic turnaround widely available to at-risk populations, through screenings and curriculum, demonstrating the importance of education in changing lives.”

The Documentary Film Series theme is titled “Thing and Spirit Both.” It is based on a poem by Marie Howe, who will visit OCU April 6 for this year’s Thatcher Hoffman Smith Poetry Series.

“These films explore how the spirit or essence of the world reveals itself indirectly through our intuition and imagination,” said Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Study through Film & Literature. “Each of the films presents an imaginative way of seeing through an artist working in a different art form — poetry, film and photography. The art of seeing must be learned to grasp the transformative dimension in everyday reality.”

For more information visit okcufilmlit.org or call 405-208-5472.

Other dates and documentaries in the series include:

* April 17, Steve James’ “Life Itself”

* May 1, Wim Wenders’ “The Salt Of the Earth”

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