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


The Reason I Jump: A Revelation of Autism

“We are born outside the regime of your civilization. With all the killings and planet-wrecking humanity has committed, perhaps autism could help you remember what truly matters. Autistic people obsess over certain things because we’d go crazy if we didn’t. Repetitive things are comforting. They soothe me, and protect me from uncertainty. “I want to grow up learning a million things. There must be countless other autistic people who have the same desir

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Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet

A Tweet from Leonardo DiCaprio: “Attenborough’s documentary puts everything into perspective, not just the way we impact our planet, but specifically the way we can solve our environmental crises. It's an incredible journey into the science of our living planet. This may be the most comprehensive narrative yet.” — 4:43 PM · Jun 10, 2021·Twitter Web App With its record breaking damage to the good-ole US of A, it seems that hurricane Ida and the wes

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Misha and the Wolves

“She’s both a victim and a villain. She’s both. She is both in this story.” Evelyne Haendel, Belgian Genealogist, Holocaust Survivor Directed by Sam Hobkinson, Misha and the Wolves is a finely produced documentary about a lifetime falsifier who named herself ‘Misha Defonseca’. The ruse began as a young child. She f

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Nature’s Cleanup Crew: The Crucial Roles of Scavengers

Directed by Robin Bicknell, and narrated by David Suzuki, Nature’s Cleanup Crew covers the scavenger species who do our world much-needed good. We are introduced to the very fine services of: Ants, Opossums, Foxes, Bacteria, and Vultures Ants: Urban Ecologists Amy Savage and Clint Penick tell of the virtues

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Beneath the Olive Tree

“The Greek Civil War (1946-1949) is considered one of the worst periods in Europe’s modern history. There is no accurate account of the lives lost, and it was never recorded in Greek history books. Years after the war ended, secret journals kept by women in exile were found buried beneath an olive tree.” Directed by Stavroula Toska, and narrated

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Skid Row, Los Angeles

“Sometimes I ask myself ‘what would stop a person from helping somebody?’ I really can’t answer that. But, what I could imagine is fear. I truly believe that one day something greater than all of us is going to force us all to come together and see each other for who we really are. It’s not going to matter how much money you have in your pocket, it’s not going to matter what you’re wearing, it’s not going to matter if

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The Seer and the Unseen

Note: To state the obvious, some readers of this review will accept the veracity of the stories told in this documentary film. Others, not so much. In any case, I encourage all readers to view this moving and endearing film. Introduction: “When the Vikings, the first human settlers, arrived in Iceland during the 9th Century, they encountered a land in the making. The Earth quaked, volcanoes erupted, wind and sea carved the cliffs. Nature was al

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The Meaning of Hitler

"Humans are animals who kill other animals of the same species. They also develop the opposite, because we are herd animals. So, we develop sympathy, and love and collaboration and so on because a herd cannot exist without that. And so there are two conflicting elements in all of human society, and all attempts to fight the kind of Hitlerism that we are discussing here are really the attempt to strengthen one human reaction against another human reaction.

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Homeroom: A Year in the Life of High School Seniors

We’re in Oakland, California. It is 2019, the beginning of the school year. Director Peter Nicks and crew are on site covering the lives of this years’ Seniors through the school year. There is no narration. These students are participating in a cinema vérité documentary film. The film focusses on students who have volunteered to participate on the All-City Student Union Governing Board. Beyond that focus, Nicks’ ...Read More

Personal Statement

Juliane Dressner’s, and Edwin Martinez’s Personal Statement is much more than a very well-done, inspiring feature documentary film. It is also a crucial campaign. The filmmakers seek to give young high school students—especially the disadvantaged—the opportunity to receive and complete a college education. In addition

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