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


Into The Night: Portraits of Life and Death

Written and directed by Helen Whitney, Into The Night: Portraits of Life and Death is a superlative documentary film about the existential side of things—death, that is. The film is divided into two parts. Part One features people’s thoughts and feelings about dying. Part Two begins with a small section called ‘Longevity Science’ abo

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Hunting for Hedonia

'We have entered a new landscape with great promises and tempting horizons. But. we are also in unknown territory. The trail to discovery is open, and scientists with pioneering minds are blazing with high speed. How do we steer our course into the future? What will we find on our journey into the brain? And, are we ready for whatever that may be?’

Directed by Pernille Rose Grønkjær, written by Lane Frank and Pernille Rose Grønkjær,

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Can Art Stop a Bullet: William Kelly’s Big Picture

“I know art has power, and I am absolutely convinced that although a painting will never stop a bullet, a painting can stop a bullet from being fired.” William Kelly Directed by Mark Street, and produced by Fiona Cochrane, Can Art Stop a Bullet: William Kelly's Big Picture tells the story of Kelly’s creation of his collage-based installation ...Read More

No Fear No Favor: Hope for African Wildlife

“We are the generation that are allowing the African elephant and rhino to go extinct. If you can’t bring economical value to the local people to protect animals, then you will never win this war.” Interviewee: Remco Dykstra, Technical Advisor, GRI Written, directed, and shot by Mirra Bank, ...Read More

For the Left Hand: The Story of Norman Malone

Produced by Kartemquin Films, and directed by Gordon Quinn and Leslie Simmer, For the Left Hand tells the story of Chicago native Norman Malone who, at age 5, discovered and began playing the piano. At ten years old Malone’s father attacked him with a hammer to the head. He was lef

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“When society is detached from reality—bad things happen. The 21st century will either be our greatest century, or our worst. That’s going to depend on the choices we make in the next couple of decades.” Eric Beinhocker, Economist Introduction: Throughout the ages, each time a new technology has appeared, it has transformed our lives and society—today more than ever. Lead by digitalization, followed by new living and i

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Making Films and Closing Deals from Greece to New York: An Interview with Stavroula Toska

Filmmaker Stavroula Toska was born and bred in the small town of Sindos, Greece. She spent her childhood and schooling there. By the time she was 21, she was in drama school pursuing a career in acting. She worked in Greek television, playing in soap operas. Although Toska feels a strong connection with Greece and her family, America called. She was in Manhattan by the age of 23. A few years into her time in New York, Toska met Academy Award and Golden Globe winner

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Lady Buds: Women, Cannabis, and California

“Right now all we’re doing is trying to just stay alive in the business. We’re just trying to get it done within the regulations, so that we can survive, so that we can go forward.” One of the Lady Buds A prolific filmmaker and exhibited fine art photographer, Chris J. Russo has directed her first feature—the documentary film Lady Buds—about wom

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American Gadfly: High School Students Making Big Differences

“A couple of teenagers with a Twitter account, and a former Senator from Alaska have been able to put ourselves in front of the political establishment—jarringly. We’re in the face of the Democratic electorate, and I think we’re making a difference.” Henry Magowan—Politically Active Teenager Mike Gravel (May 13, 1930 – June 26, 2021) was a United States Senator from Alaska. He made a 2008 run for the Presidency. His politics were decidedly liberal

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Reflection: A Walk with Water

“Long ago, when the earth was just lava, rock and ocean, something happened in the water. Something flickered to life. It came at first like the mist atop an emerging wave—just the first expression of a building momentum. And in time, a massive wave of life energy lifted from those oceans and covered the planet in a blanket of life forms. Life emerged there in those oceans, and it expresses itself now wherever there is water. It’s almost as if this quality of ali

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