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

Senna: No Fear. No Limits. No Equal

August 17th, 2016

11196272_868986829831261_1957665495247873697_nDirected 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. Senna...Read More

When Two Worlds Collide: Environmental Strife in Peru

August 14th, 2016

twc238-243_amaz_repsolprotest_cahuapanas_5149_23258117285_oIt 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. ...Read More

Pelican Dreams: The Life and Times of Gigi the Pelican

August 13th, 2016

Pelican-Dreams-GigiJudy Irving, 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

Strange and Familiar: Architecture on Fogo Island

August 7th, 2016

Fogo Island is a small island, off a larger island, off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland. item0.rendition.slideshowHorizontal.-1-Todd Saunders 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

Catching The Sun: One Fix for Two Global Maladies

July 27th, 2016

756752main_20130620-m2.9flare-orig_full 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

Spring and Arnaud: Art and Love

July 25th, 2016

SA-Storeyteller-portrait-for-filmsmSpring 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 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