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

Mudbloods: An Introduction to Collegiate Quidditch

December 12th, 2016

Although obviously a contradiction in terms, a ‘mudblood’ is a muggle who happens to possess some kind of metaphysical power. Mudbloods is a documentary about intercollegiate quidditch. The film follows UCLA’s quidditch team through the 2011 season of play leading to the Annual World Cup competition in Middlebury, Vermont. Adjusting to terra firma requires each player—or mudblood—to run with a broom sti ...Read More

All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception, and the Spirit of I.F. Stone

December 10th, 2016

“My hope is that we miraculously produce a generation of young I.F. Stones. We need to stop keeping up with the Kardashians, and start going back and catching up on I.F. Stone.” Jeremy Scahill “There’s only two types of reporters. There’s those who care, and those who don’t. Most of them don’t care. But, if you care, if you are, as I was, in El Salvador, or Gaza, or Sarajevo, then you are immediately branded as political. Because if you care, you can’t lie to cover up oppression, atrocity, genocide. And, I. ...Read More

Speed Sisters: An All-Woman Racing Team

December 3rd, 2016

Looking for a film that takes you to a place you’ve never been, presented a world you never conceived? You found it. speed-sistersWith Speed Sisters director Amber Fares and crew take us to Palestine, and introduces the first all-woman car racing team in the Arab world. I can’t speak for you, but I confess my preconceptions were seriously damaged. The five women racers don’t wear headscarves, or any of th ...Read More

Best and Most Beautiful Things

December 2nd, 2016

“This movie has good music, kinky stuff, a cute cat, romance, drama, and is definitely not normal.” Michelle Smith michelle-smithDirector Garrett Zevgetis has had his first feature picked up for theatrical distribution—a rare accomplishment in the documentary film world. In Best and Most Beautiful Things Zevgetis follows Michelle Smith for a period of time in her young a ...Read More

Llyn Foulkes: The Most Famous Artist You Never Heard Of

November 26th, 2016

Llyn Foulkes is an LA-based carpenter, musician, composer, singer, yodeler....and artist. foulkesCo-produced and co-directed by first-time feature directors Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty, Llyn Foulkes One Man Band (the film’s full title) follows the multi-talented, self-absorbed gentleman through seven years of ups and downs. His life and work are driven, in part, by a rebelli ...Read More

Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

November 8th, 2016

14249923_1818511575034008_7893490969621874714_oEat That Question is an introduction to the professional life and philosophy of legendary composer/musician/filmmaker Frank Zappa. Director Thorsten Schütte chose the graceful approach to telling Zappa’s story exclusively ...Read More

Among the Believers: Religious Strife in Pakistan

November 6th, 2016

amongthebelieversAmong the Believers is as horrifying and gratifying a documentary as I’ve ever seen. Directors Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Naqvi were given rare access to Abdul Aziz Ghazi, an Islamic cleric in Pakistan who—as of the time of production—heads a network of madrassahs called the Red Mosque. These are schools where children live and study. They are required to memorize the Quran—and learn no other subj ...Read More

Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache

November 5th, 2016

vanishing-pearlsWritten, produced, and directed by Nailah Jefferson, the double entendre-titled Vanishing Pearls covers the impacts on a small town on the Louisiana coast devastated by the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Pointe a la Hache is a community of African American oystermen beset by decades of racism and economic repression. But, they created livelihoods for their families by oys ...Read More


October 25th, 2016

001-ss1112n-0135Directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, written by Pitiot, Terra is a beatific, passionate, bold documentary about life on Earth. The film is narrated in French, with English subtitles, and available on Netflix. The narration is spoken in the first person, and that person is the spirit of humanity. The focus is on the history of life beginning with lichen, an ...Read More

Deep Web: Freedom and Repression in the Cyber World

October 20th, 2016

alex-winterWritten, produced, and directed by prolific filmmaker Alex Winter, Deep Web provides a brief introduction to the Internet’s underground—the deep web and the dark web. After this introduction the film focuses on the legal case of Ross William Ulbricht who was arrested, tried, and convicted of a variety of federal crimes. U ...Read More