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

Sea Gypsies: When Everything Goes Wrong, That’s When Adventure Starts

In Sea Gypsies writer/producer/director/cinematographer/editor Nico Edwards takes a ride in the Infinity, a 120 sailing ketch(1.). I write ‘in’ rather than ‘on’ because much of his on-camera narration is done from his room while suffering the effects of motion sickness. When not ill, Edwards’ cinematography is

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Icarus: Truth Is the New Banned Substance

I prefer to go into a movie cold. At the most I will know the title and the genre. As I’ve written before, I value the experience of discovery in reading, hearing, and seeing stories. I went into Icarus cold. I was confused when I began watching this  ...Read More

Crop Circle Diaries: Placing the Circles in a Greater Context

Patty Greer’s films cover the phenomenon called ‘crop circle.’ I put the phrase in quotes because perfectly formed circles with elaborate designs have been found around the world in media other than agricultural crops. Greer covers the metaphysical, and films of this ilk tend to be viewed by those who are interested in such—also known as ‘preaching to the converted.’ Skeptics, of course, may watch these films in their quest to delegitimize both t

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Hesse and Glaser: Two Films, Two Artists

Thanks to Kino Lorber for sending two films about two artists who have little in common except for the power and impact of their work. Marcie Begleiter’s Eva Hesse covers Hesse’s tragically-shortened and previous

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Chasing Coral: The Die-Off of a Fundamental Ecosystem

Jeff Orlowski is a master at making films with images that are as exquisitely beautiful as they are horrific. With 2012’s Chasing Ice he covers the melting of glaciers and ice caps, and now with ...Read More

Extraordinary: The Stan Romanek Story

Note: At the conclusion of this review I have added a personal note regarding my epistemological relationship with the UFO/ET phenomenon. This is the second documentary of this ilk I have covered, The Hidden Hand being the first. _________________ Once in awhile I begin a documentary film review with displayed text that introduces t

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Tribe of Heart: In Support of Animal Rights

Under their Tribe of Heart moniker Jenny Stein and James LaVeck have produced and distributed—for free—the two most powerful documentaries about non-human animal rights I’ve seen to date. The power of their films lies in the profound human stories of transformation they tell. In ...Read More

The Islands and the Whales

Commonly called the Faeroes, the Faroe Islands lie smack-dab between Iceland and Norway. Humans have lived in the Faeroes for about two millennia. Today’s 48,000 humans are self-governing, but do so under the aegis of the Kingdom of Denmark. The people have their own language, Faroese, and Danish is taught in schools. They live in a technologically modern society, and secure foods from the sea for their consumption and economy. Produced, directed, and shot by Mike Day,

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Mr. Gaga

Nope. Not the Lady’s husband, brother or father. Gaga is an approach to dance developed by Ohad Naharin, the subject of this masterpiece of documentary filmmaking written and directed by Tomer Heymann. Heymann tells Naharin’s professional and personal b

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Almost Sunrise: 2,700 Miles to Healing

Almost Sunrise begins with this text: “'Moral Injury' is a wound to the soul caused by participation in events that violate one’s deeply held sense of right and wrong." Although not a prolific filmmaker, when Michael Collins makes a feature documentary, it is powerful, compelling, and haunting. His first feature, 'Give Up Tomorrow,' is unforgettable, as is

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