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:
August 17th, 2016
Directed by narrative filmmaker Asif Kapadia, Senna
is a biography of Brazilian Formula One racing legend Ayrton Senna. There are different approaches to or philosophies of documentary film production. Kapadia chose the track less traveled—he used archival footage exclusively to tell the racer’s jaw-dropping story.
August 14th, 2016
It is so easy to become inured to the travails of our world—necessary, some might say, in order to maintain one’s sanity.
Our planet’s human population is rapidly approaching 9 billion. Hundreds of millions—if not more—already live in abject poverty. Economic, political, and social injustice reign supreme around the Earth. War and strife are endemic—as is the ongoing destruction of our ecosphere.
August 13th, 2016
, the producer/director/cinematographer/editor of the wildly successful The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
has given us another delightful avian-based documentary, Pelican Dreams ...Read More
August 7th, 2016
Fogo Island is a small island, off a larger island, off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland.
grew up there, as did Zita Cobb
Saunders is an architect who now lives in Norway. Cobb found success in her professional life, and wanted to benefit the people, community, and Island of Fogo.
The island’s economy was based upon fish. Like many seas around our Earth, the sea around Fogo Island lost its ...Read More
July 27th, 2016
Director Shalini Kantayya’s Catching the Sun
addresses global warming and economic inequities by focusing on the use of solar power to reduce and eventually eliminate fossil fuels—more jobs, less pollution.
Liberal icon Van Jones embodies the film’s thesis with the concept of ‘green jobs’—providing much needed solar energy-base ...Read More
July 25th, 2016
Spring Hurlbut is a successful artist, as is Arnaud Maggs. The two share the love of a lifetime.
Produced by Marcia Connolly, David Craig, and Katherine Knight, Spring and Arnaud
explores their professional biographies, their work, and their love story. Being a card-carrying philistine, I do not fully understand their work; but as ...Read More
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
Written and directed by Tonje Hessen Schei, ...Read More
July 16th, 2016
Veteran 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
July 16th, 2016
First 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
July 8th, 2016
Once in a blue moon I cover a narrative film. For context, here’s a list of the few I’ve covered:
Tell No One (French, 2006)
An Angel at My Table (1990)
Gaby: A True Story (1987)
Mostly Martha (2001)
What’s In A Name? (French, 2012)
I discovered John Carney’s Begin Again ...Read More