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


July 24th, 2016

“The United States has become a national security state whose raisin d’etre is war. We’ve created a terrorist-industrial complex that is self-perpetuating, and now—searching for the reason for this constant state of war—terrorism is the perfect case for us. We can do this forever.” Col. Lawrence Wilkerson Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2002-2005 static1.squarespace.comWritten and directed by Tonje Hessen Schei, ...Read More

A Ballerina’s Tale: The Saga of Misty Copeland

July 16th, 2016

BayadereVeteran filmmaker Nelson George’s A Ballerina’s Tale tells the dramatic story of African American ballerina Misty Copeland who broke multiple barriers in the rarefied world of professional ballet—and found pop stardom along the way. In addition to the racial barrier, she broke morphological barriers with her curvy muscular physique. In 2013, in the midst of her exciting ascent, Copeland performed the lead role in Stravinsky’s ...Read More

Comix: Beyond the Comic Book Pages

July 16th, 2016

Superman_Fan PhotoFirst time feature director Michael Valentine's Comix: Beyond the Comic Book Pages is a thoroughly engaging documentary about the worlds of comic books. Valentine interviews fans, writers, line drawers, colorists, a movie celebrity or two, and industry icons—including the icon of icons, Stan Lee—all talking about the fun, the power, and the history of this uniquely Amer ...Read More

Begin Again: Once in a Blue Moon

July 8th, 2016

10525625_312183912290336_3185001029639804208_nOnce in a blue moon I cover a narrative film. For context, here’s a list of the few I’ve covered: Secretary (2002) Tell No One (French, 2006) Stardust (2007) An Angel at My Table (1990) Gaby: A True Story (1987) Mostly Martha (2001) Rango (2011) What’s In A Name? (French, 2012) I discovered John Carney’s Begin Again ...Read More

The Fear of 13

June 5th, 2016

Nick MCU ProfileThe Fear of 13 joins the avalanche of documentary and narrative films about injustice in the United States of America. This film is not the usual socio-political polemic. Instead, it is a character study presented in a powerful and captivating ninety-minute monologue. The protagonist is Nick Yarris who was on death row for more than two decades for a murder he did not commi ...Read More

Invitation to Dance

May 30th, 2016

DanceInvitation to Dance tells two parallel stories: A biography of disability rights activist Simi Linton and a history of the disability rights movement over the last 4 decades. As Linton became active in this movement she discovered a unique focus on dance—and became known as ‘the instigator of dance’ ...Read More


May 25th, 2016

Boy, am I late to the party for this one. Samsara was released more than five years ago. SamsaraI was watching Issabella Rossellini’s Green Porno Live on Netflix. The film kept freezing. After several tries I gave up, and began searching the site for something else, one that would not freeze. The title Samsara< ...Read More

Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art

May 21st, 2016

Us humans have been messing with the Earth since we began cultivating the land. charles_rossJames Crump’s Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art covers and uncovers a no-longer-obscure footnote of art history about a small group of artists who messed with the land for art’s sake. In the sixties and early seventies this group ventured from New York to the American southwest to create land art—a ...Read More

The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West

May 19th, 2016

chengmanching_lookleftThe ‘Professor’ is what his Tai Chi students called Cheng Man-Ching (1901-1975). He is acknowledged as the master who brought Tai Chi to the west. Tai Chi student and Hollywood writer/director Barry Strugatz has told the Professor’s story in his first feature documentary the Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West. Although the black and white footage of ...Read More

DREAM/KILLER: The Trials of Ryan Ferguson

May 15th, 2016

DKJust as there cannot be too many documentary films about our environment, so there cannot be too many documentary films about prosecutorial malfeasance. The environmental damage perpetrated by us humans is ubiquitous. Twenty thousand inmates in the United States are innocent of the crimes for which they have been convicted and incarcerated. Ryan Ferguson was one of them. Andrew Jenks’s “DREAM/KILLER” is a superbly produce ...Read More