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

First Position: Dancing for a Chance

First Position opens with the following text: Youth America Grand Prix is the world’s largest ballet competition that awards full scholarships and job contracts to dancers age 9-19 Aran, Rebecca, Jules, Michaela, Joan, and Miko are the six dancers producer/director Bess Kargman follows to the completion of a year’s competition—out of the thousands

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Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World

Over the decades legendary auteur, Werner Herzog, has become quite the documentarian. When I spotted his documentary coverage of the internet—Lo and Behold—on Netflix, I was hesitant to press play. The internet is ubiquitous, and is the subject of non-stop media coverage and soc

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Yarn: Adorning the World

With interstitial narration written and performed by Barbara Kingsolver, Yarn profiles several yarn artists from several countries. We hear from and see the work of yarn graffiti artists, installation artists, and circus performers. In addition to a great variety of art work, we h

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Pet Fooled: They Deserve Better

A confluence of factors have induced me to cover this revealing documentary about the pet food industry. The deepest factor is having found myself an unofficial member of the animal rights movement—including the legal initiative to secure personhood rights for non-human animals. Added to that are my friends with pets who speak frequently—and with passion—about the food they provide to their animal companions. Finally, in the midst of my second half-century of life I

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(Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies

“The bigger the brain, the larger the capacity to lie.” Murali Doraiswamy, Psychiatrist Duke Institute for Brain Science The title says it all in this documentary film about lying. Our host is Dan Ariely who is—and let me take a breath here—James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University. Our hero is also founder of the Center for Advanced Hindsight. His career is devoted to the study of human lying. The goal is to learn ways

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Killswitch: Another Front on the Struggle for Democracy

When I saw the title ‘Killswitch’ on Netflix, and noted that it’s about the internet, I immediately assumed the film is just another documentary about that subject, ‘I’ve seen enough of these,’ I thought. I was wrong. What sparked me to view the film was remembering the just-occurred, non-violent coup d'état that put Trump in power, and gave the Republican Party control of all three branches of our so-called democracy. Governmental corruption ha

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Minimalism: Imagine a Life with Less

“You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.” Rick Hanson, Ph.D., Neuropsychologist Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus—also known as The Minimalists—are partners on a quest: To promote the values of consuming less, owning less. Minimalism  ...Read More

Jaco: A Biography of Music Legend Jaco Pastorius

Known primarily in jazz circles, Jaco Pastorius revolutionized the playing of the electric bass guitar. He died in 1987 as a result of self-destructive activities. Jaco denied himself and the world an unfathomable amount of beautiful musics of many ilk. Early in his life he had a premonition that he would die at the age of 34. He was off by two years. This two-hour bio-doc

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Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue

It’s tough. Probably the reason people don’t see ‘em. Documentaries about unhappy subjects—and most of them are about such. When it comes to the world-changers I admire and respect, and whose passing was untimely, it’s even harder to break through the resistance to seeing their stories, reliving their public lives, pinning for another story their lives could have written—one in which they live and make even greater contributions to our world..., and my soul.

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The Overnighters: When Fracking Came to Town

Jesse Moss’s documentary, The Overnighters, has two foci: What happens to the small town of Williston, North Dakota when there is a fracking boon; and a character study of Jay Reinke, Pastor of Williston’s Concordia Lutheran Church

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