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

Among the Believers: Religious Strife in Pakistan

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 requir

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Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache

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,

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Terra

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 i

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Deep Web: Freedom and Repression in the Cyber World

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, trie

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Gardeners of Eden: Saving Elephants in the Wild

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

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Closure: A Documentary About Adoption

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 wa

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

“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 o

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The Many Sad Fates of Mr. Toledano

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

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

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

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The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits

greg-palast-3Written, directed, and starring Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy is another look at the usurpation of the United States’ government—and many states’ governments—by the wealthy and powerful. The film is as entertaining as it is infuriating. Palast portrays an amalgam of journalist an

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