Don Schwartz Spotlight on Documentaries

Welcome to the Blog of actor/journalist/personal historian Don Schwartz.

Don has been published in a variety of publications since 1977. His book, Telling Their Own Stories: Conversations with Documentary Filmmakers, is available from Amazon in softback or Kindle edition.

Don holds multiple degrees, including a Ph.D. in psychology and counseling from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Don is a regular guest on our web radio show, The Art of Film Funding, produced by From the Heart Productions, reviewing documentary films with founder Carole Dean—

Don also contributes film reviews and filmmaker profiles to CineSource Magazine online—

His weekly film review appears in The Marin Post

Don’s actor resumé, voice samples, and reel may be found at:

You can access Don’s Personal Historian services at:

You can find, and Like Don’s official Facebook page at

Take Your Pills: For the Love of Addy

$13 Billion Annually That’s the upside to the marketing and sales of prescription performance enhancing drugs. Alison Klayman’s Take Your Pills is an exploration of what we’re getting for our money. The primary focus is on Adderall (referred to by high schoolers as ‘Addy’) and, secondarily, on Ritalin—as used by

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Notes from the Field: The School-to-Prison Pipeline

Anna Deavere Smith interviewed more than 250 people to write and perform her epic one-woman play, Notes from the Field. Smith culled through this 300 hours of interviews, choose 19 interviewees, selected interview segments of each, and performed them as the interviewee. She began work on this project in 2012, perform

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Speed and Angels: The Adventures of Meagan and Jay

When Jay Consalvi went home from the hospital—at two days of age—his father took the infant flying for 20 minutes before going home. By the time he was five Jay wanted to fly, and by 11, he wanted to be a Navy fighter pilot—although he didn’t know what a fighter pilot does. Meagan Varley wanted to fly Navy jets since the age of 12

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A River Below: The Road to Hell Is Paved with Good Intentions

If I were teaching a graduate course in ethics I would have my class see A River Below. The students would then be required to write a comprehensive examination of the ethics of the five principals: The director, the two ‘stars,’ an impoverished Amazonian river community immersed in a Brazilian environmental controversy, and the  ...Read More

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Written and directed by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana, Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World brings to light the significant impact of Indigenous Americans on rock and pop music—and since American music found its way around the world, this impact is global in nature. The film features Robbie Robertson, B

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Atomic Homefront: The Poisoning of an American Community

There was a time when the poisoning of an American suburban community—like Love Canal—would receive so much national news coverage that the US government would, eventually, be forced to take effective action. Those days are long gone. With the consolidation of powers by the federal government and corporations, our national news me

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Water & Power: A California Heist

It is February 19, 2018, and California is facing another drought year. National Georgarphic, documentary god Alex Gibney, and director Marina Zenovich have produced an incendiary film about water in California. They tell the story about how the influence of private enterprise became nearly paramount in the development of the state’s water management. ...Read More

Ukraine On Fire: The Geopolitical Football Tossed by Russia and the United States of America

The first 26 minutes of Igor Lopatonok’s Ukraine On Fire offers a brief history of Ukraine, nesting the country’s position as a flash point between East and West. The remainder of the film covers recent headline stories of strife and conflict which includes a bloody civil conflict in 2014, the annexing of Crimea from Ukraine to Rus

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Seeing Allred: The Life and, Especially, Times of Gloria Allred

Through either intention or serendipity, the February 9, 2018 release of Roberta Grossman’s and Sophie Sartain’s Seeing Allred is perfectly timed. The issue of women’s rights is reaching deeper into American culture, media, and the halls of corporate/governmental power. The impact of attorney Gloria Allred’s lifetime of crusading fo

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Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

Griffin Dunne’s biographical documentary about his aunt Joan is a bolt of lightning that pierces the heart, gut, and soul. That is how I felt at film’s conclusion as I sat stunned reflecting on the personal challenges and losses prolific writer Joan Didion faced with grace, dignity, and inspiration to write for us her experiences and learning. In ...Read More