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—http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-art-of-film-funding
Don also contributes film reviews and filmmaker profiles to CineSource Magazine online—www.CineSourceMagazine.com
His weekly film review appears in The Marin Post—https://marinpost.org/
You can access Don’s Personal Historian services at:
November 8th, 2016
Eat 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
November 6th, 2016
Among 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
November 5th, 2016
Written, 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
Directed 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
October 20th, 2016
Written, 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
October 19th, 2016
Produced, directed, shot, and edited by Austin Peck and Annaliese Vandenberg, Gardeners of Eden
is another look at our slaughter of elephants in the wild. The emphasis, though, is on initiatives to save wild elephants and end the slaughter.
The film reports that out of a population of 3.5 million, 300,000 wild elephants remain—and their survival is in question. The total elimination of wild elephants is still a tragic possibility.
Of course, information about and images of the killi ...Read More
October 16th, 2016
This story transcends geographical boundaries, racial boundaries, socio-economic and cultural boundaries. Although the film’s title denotes completion, this is a film about many beginnings.
is Bryan Tucker’s first feature documentary film. Quickly we see he is a natural-born filmmaker.
Angela was born of African-American parents in 1985, in Ten ...Read More
October 14th, 2016
“You connect with them because you’re looking in their eyes, and they’re looking in yours.” Jo-Anne McArthur
I have never had such trepidation about sharing my review of a documentary film. I know how hard the information and images in this film are to stomach, to let in to our minds and hearts. I know the reluctance to even start this film about animal abuse and slaughter.
For reasons I struggle to understand, it seems people can learn about the myriad kinds of injustice and destruction on our planet, yet it ...Read More
October 13th, 2016
Phillip Toledano is a prolific multi-media artist. Very multi-media, very prolific. Here is his CV
The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano
is filmmaker Joshua Seftel’s faithful coverage of iconic photographer Phillip Toledano’s three-year-long personal exploration of his fears of growing old. ...Read More
October 7th, 2016
In my introduction to Telling Their Own Stories: Conversations with Documentary Filmmakers
I compared the watching of documentaries to taking The Matrix’s ‘red pill’ the act of which indicates the taker is committed to seeing the world as it is—not as they imagine or wish, just as it is.
Cassie Jaye’s latest release, The Red Pill
, is well-titled. Jaye decided to learn the core issues of somethi ...Read More