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 Posthttps://marinpost.org/

Don’s actor resumé, voice samples, and reel may be found at: www.DonSchwartz.com

You can access Don’s Personal Historian services at:

You can find, and Like Don’s official Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialDonSchwartz

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

Terra

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

Gardeners of Eden: Saving Elephants in the Wild

October 19th, 2016

gardenersofeden5Produced, 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

Closure: A Documentary About Adoption

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. screenshotangmeetingdeb300dpicg-jpgClosure 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

The Ghosts in Our Machine: The Work of Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur

October 14th, 2016

“You connect with them because you’re looking in their eyes, and they’re looking in yours.” Jo-Anne McArthur ronI 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

The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano

October 13th, 2016

Phillip Toledano is a prolific multi-media artist. Very multi-media, very prolific. Here is his CV. sad-fatesThe 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

The Red Pill: Cassie Jaye’s Fall Down the Rabbit Hole

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. captureCassie Jaye’s latest release, The Red Pill, is well-titled. Jaye decided to learn the core issues of somethi ...Read More