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

Sons of Ben: The Movie

March 20th, 2017

Written and directed by Jeffrey C. Bell, Sons of Ben tells the story of how a small group of seemingly ordinary guys calling themselves ‘Sons of Ben’ worked tirelessly for years to secure a Major League Soccer team to the Philadelphia region—the stadium is in Chester, Pennsylvania. (The ‘Ben’ refers to that Franklin dude.) The 75 minute film is short for the scope of this story which documents something very big ...Read More

It’s Criminal: “If I Was Born Nicki, I Would Be in Jail”

March 19th, 2017

That’s one of the statements made by a Dartmouth student about her experience participating in a unique program created by Dartmouth Professor Pati Hernandez. The summer program brings female students together with incarcerated females to produce a play based on the experiences of the prisoners. This year’s program—covered by Signe Taylor in ...Read More

An American Conscience: The Reinhold Niebuhr Story

March 16th, 2017

An American Conscience is an hour-long documentary introducing the work and—especially—person of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. The inspiration for this documentary is both the power and impact of Neibuhr’s expressions, and the filmmaker’s intention to expand awareness of this Protestant minister’s influence on 20...Read More

Tower: One Day in August

March 5th, 2017

From the film’s website: “On August 1st, 1966, a sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the University of Texas Tower and opened fire, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes. When the gunshots were finally silenced, the toll included 16 dead, three dozen wounded, and a shaken nation left trying to understand.” Keith Maitland’s Tower tells stories of those who survived, died, and saved. It does so by intricately w ...Read More

Moving from Emptiness: The Life and Art of a Zen Dude

March 4th, 2017

Moving from Emptiness profiles Alok Hsu Kwang-han who is called a ‘Zen calligraphic painter.’ The phrase is way too small. He is a teacher of Zen Buddhism, an artist, and workshop leader. But those words do not come close to capturing who he really is. Filmmakers Jerry Hartleben and Shaeri Richa ...Read More

The Business of Amateurs: Degree Not Included

February 28th, 2017

student-athlete (n): an unrecognized profession where pain and gain are mutually exclusive. There are a fount of adjectives to describe college sports in the United States of America: Unjust, Immoral, Unethical, Dangerous, Risky, Unhealthy, Tragic—and having just viewed Bob DeMars The Business of Amateurs—add the noun, Travesty. There has been no want of news re ...Read More

Forced Perspective: A Profile of Artist Derek Hess

February 20th, 2017

If you’re an extremely talented, massively prolific, and commercially successful artist like Derek Hess, you want your documentarian to do justice to yourself and your work—to mirror the passion and dedication and authenticity you bring to your work, and consequently, to those who view it. That’s just what director/editor Nick Cavalier has done for Cleveland-based Hess with his film, Forced Perspective...Read More

Casablancas: The Man Who Loved Women

February 20th, 2017

‘In May 2011,’ the film begins, ‘John Casablancas met his friend Hupert Woroniecki in New York City. They spent three days locked in a studio and recorded his life story. What neither knew at the time was that John would die of cancer two years later, in 2013—making this recording a unique posthumous testimony on one of our most glamorous eras.’ Casablancas is an autobiography of John Casablancas who found ...Read More

Homeland: Iraq Year Zero

February 17th, 2017

“No way to live in peace, not under Sadam, not after him.” A distinguished Iraqi gentleman as he views a collaterally destroyed home. France-based Iraqi filmmaker Abbas Fahdel has single-handedly produced a monumental documentary film. Homeland: Iraq Year Zero is his coverage of the Ira ...Read More

The Mama Sherpas: Midwives Across America

February 16th, 2017

Brigid Maher’s The Mama Sherpas introduces the practice of nurse-midwives. The film covers their work in four birthing centers. The primary purpose is to promote this work and, in so doing, help reduce the number of unnecessary Cesarean births—and humanize our approach to the birthing process. Psychological pain, side-effects, scaring, an ...Read More