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


They Shall Not Grow Old

“You would be surprised that no matter what country you’re from, it’s more likely than not some member of your family was involved in this war. … The thing that I hope the film does is it encourages people to actually ask questions, do a little bit of research… you can find out a lot about the history of your own family. And now’s the time to do it because if you have parents or grandparents who are alive, it’s probably their parents that wer

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F.T.A.: A Hidden History Revealed

Directed by the late Francine Parker, F.T.A. is a feature documentary film of an early 1970’s tour by an American troop of performers putting on anti-Vietnam/anti-war shows throughout a few Asian countries. The film was released in 1972, and squashed less than two weeks later. The FTA show was conceived by Howard Levy, an ex-US Army doctor who had

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Creating Woodstock: How It Really Happened

“It’s a singular event in history.” Arlo Guthrie In Mike Richards’ Creating Woodstock 22 performers and business people share their experience of the creation of the three-day concert called the ‘Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music.’ The producers and staff recount both the ups and downs, of cour

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Through a More Intimate Lens: Interview with Filmmaker Ross Taylor

Ross Taylor is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder. Previously, he was a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I discovered Taylor via his feature documentary film, The Hardest Day about veterinary performed in-home pet euthanasia. I’m an animal lover, and had never heard of this way of saying goodbye. I

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Beyond the Visible: Hilma af Klint

Halina Dyrschka’s Beyond the Visible is the finest feature documentary film about an artist I have seen to date. The filmmaker unearths the story and work of prolific Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (October 26, 1862 – October 21, 1944). In a very short 94 minutes the film reveals an artist whose mass

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The Land of Azaba

‘What humans have done to the Earth is no less than a massacre of the other species.’ U.N. Convention on Biodiversity ‘The United Nations has declared 2020 - 2030 to be the decade of Ecological Restoration. This work is essential for mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity.’ Along the Spanish/Portuguese border is a section of land called ‘Campanarios de Azaba Nature Reserve’ which consists of 34,800 acres of woods and agriculture.

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A Southern Fix: Towards an End to Euthanasia of Pets

Between three and four million adoptable pets are euthanized annually in the United States. Some are euthanized compassionately, the rest are put into bins and suffocated in one manner or another. Michael Samstag’s and Josh Gildrie’s A Southern Fix offers solutions to stem this tide of slaughter. The film begins with the usual unhappy news

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Do Not Split: The Fight for a Democratic Hong Kong

Directed and shot by Anders Hammer, Do Not Split is a documentary short that covers the violent conflict between Hong Kong’s citizens and Chinese forces for Hong Kong’s democracy. Hammer simply lets his camera tell the story on the streets of Hong Kong—including protesters’ responses to this battle for freedom. The film ends in the pand

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Tell My Story

In March, 2018, Jason Reid and his wife were vacationing in Puerto Vallarta when they got the text and the call. Ryan, the youngest of their four children texted he was going to kill himself, and Reid’s mother-in-law confirmed that their youngest son committed suicide at the age of 14. Ryan hung himself in the attic of their upper-middle class home. His approach was particularly well thought out with separate notes for his mother, father, and three siblings. H

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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 Written, directed, and shot by Mirra Banks, No Fear No Fav

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