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 8th: The Struggle for Abortion Rights in Ireland

‘In 1983, the people of Ireland voted to add the 8th Amendment to their Constitution giving the unborn an equal right to life to that of its mother. Ever since, abortion rights advocates have been fighting to overturn it.’ Directed by Aideen Kane, Lucy Kennedy, and Maeve O’Boyle, The 8th is an Ireland-based documentary film about that nation’s reversed stance

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The Loneliest Whale: the Search for 52

With The Loneliest Whale prolific filmmaker Joshua Zeman took on a very long bet with his latest shot—to seek and find a virtually legendary whale called ‘52’—or, as the above title suggests, a forlorn whale which may or may not now exist. A presumed cross between a blue whale and a fin whale, this whale had

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Youth v Gov

“I mean, I think for a lot of young people right now, life is really scary—because we’ve never seen a moment like this in history. And our feelings about our life and our future is all because of choices that we had no participation in. And so the plaintiffs join this case because we all know who’s to blame, and what needs to be done.” Young Litigator Christi Cooper’s documentary film ...Read More

The Dark Hobby

we fish, we fish, we merrily swim, we care not for friend or foe, our fins are stout, our tails are out, as through the seas we go Herman Melville This is a crucial benefit of documentary films. They can unearth little known worlds of destruction and optimism, facilitating awareness and actions. Little did I know that something as seemingly innocuous as aquarium fish tanks are yet another source of pollution and sorrow in our planet. Paula Fouce’s ...Read More

Picture A Scientist: Women In Science

Picture a Scientist is a vitally important documentary about the oppression, suppression, gender and racial biases women scientists have faced since science was created. Directors Sharon Shattuck and Ian Cheney interview several scientists and others about the plague of negative experiences women have faced throughout their careers, a

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The Wisdom of Trauma

From Science and Nonduality: ‘Trauma is the invisible force that shapes our lives. It shapes the way we live, the way we love, and the way we make sense of our world. It is the root of our deepest wounds. Dr. Gabor Maté gives us a new vision: a trauma-informed society in which parents, teachers, physicians, policy makers and legal personnel are not concerned with fixing behaviors, making diagnoses, suppressing symptoms, and judging, but seek instead to understand the

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8 Billion Angels

“If I just had this magic power, I would like to alleviate poverty, because when you’re poor, never mind the individual suffering, you’re destroying the environment because you have to. You have to cut down the last trees to try and grow a bit of food, to feed yourself and your family, or to make some charcoal. Or, you have to buy the cheapest food even if that did cause horrendous suffering to animals. I would like to change the unsustainable lifestyle of

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The Most Unknown

“This question of how much of the universe is understood is very much a moving target, because as we are able to stand in a new place, because we’ve learned something new, we then see other wonders that were not even visible to us before.” Jennifer Macalady, Ph.D. Microbiologist, Penn State University Produced and directed by Ian Cheney, The Most

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The Waiting Room: A Night at the Emergency Department

“Not everyone has a place to go. And there are often times where I don’t want to send a patient out into the cold with bad lung problems and no access to get medicines that night. I can’t just send him to the street. So, there’s no movement on that bed, and nobody in the waiting room can use that bed until that patient has a place to go. If I was a patient in the waiting room, knowing that there’s somebody who is completely stable, and didn’t need to

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Last Breath

In their documentary film, Last Breath, directors Richard da Costa and Alex Parkinson take viewers on a suspenseful journey to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean’s North Sea. Dave Yuasa, Chris Lemons, and Duncan Allcock are working for a crude oil extraction company. We don’t know specifically what tasks they are performing, we only know that these hard

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