BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Former Bloomfield resident Daniel Glick, who attended Bloomfield High School, worked at the municipal cable station WMBA, then departed for New Mexico to make a documentary, will be having that documentary aired Wednesday, Sept. 26, on NJTV, a PBS station, at 8 p.m. The name of the documentary is “A Place to Stand.”
Glick, BHS Class of 2001, traveled to Albuquerque in 2010 to make a documentary on Jimmy Santiago Baca, a man incarcerated in Arizona State Prison for drugs possession. Working with Baca’s son as the producer, Glick worked on the project for four years, recording it on digital video.
During that time, he was not employed full time and focused only on the documentary. The effort was financed through donations
“I lived a very starving-artist’s life,” he said in a telephone interview last week. “I went into debt. Both my producer and I lived a vagabond lifestyle. We slummed it and were very thrifty and then went into debt.”
The subject of the documentary, Baca, spent 4 ½ years in prison, serving his time from 1973-78. According to Glick, Baca was shipping marijuana from Mexico to Arizona when he was busted. A small amount of heroin was also discovered, although Baca said it was not his. He was illiterate when incarcerated, but taught himself to read. He began to write poetry, Glick said, to survive. The documentary is a series of interviews with Baca, inmates and guards. They are connected by interior scenes of a vacant prison. Its running time is 83 minutes.
“We did the festival thing and released it online,” Glick said. “I just submitted it to PBS and American Public TV accepted it. That’s how it happened. It was a surprise and it was good to be finally on TV four years after finishing it.”
PBS, however, wanted the presentation trimmed to 56 minutes.
“I chose things to eliminate that would impact the story the least,” Glick said. “The 20 minutes about his childhood, I condensed it to three minutes and clipped here and there; scenes relating to the context that had nothing to do with the story — like in Arizona prisons, they’re not for rehabilitation, but to punish people so the wouldn’t want to come back to prison. The main thrust of the story is Jimmy learning to write and surviving in prison with his writing against tremendous odds without support in a very violent prison.”
Glick is currently working as a freelancer and on another personal documentary.
“It’s about the Blackfeet Indians effort to establish a wild bison herd on their reservation bordering Glacier National Park,” he said.
Glick is also working on a second project. It is a fictionalized account of Blackfeet women helping to bring the bison back to their tribe.
PBS has the rights to broadcast “A Place to Stand” for three years. For Glick, having his work accepted by them was a happy ending.
“I think this is the final hurrah and it’s a good one,” he said. “It’s the best I can hope for.”
Glick, who is the son of Jane Califf and Ted Glick, of Broughton Avenue, lives in Bozeman, Mont, and is married.