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


Jane’s Journey: The Life and Work of Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall opens this documentary about herself and her work with this story: JG"I used to get pretty fed up when people thought I was Diane Fossey, and they said, 'I loved your movie, you know, Gorillas in the Mist.' And I would say, 'Well, you saw that movie?' 'Yeah.' 'You remember, the lady was killed?' 'Yes.' 'Well, here I am.'" Written and directed by ...Read More

People of a Feather: Inuit People and Eider Ducks Facing Ecological Devastation

People of the Feather is one of the best reviewed and has received the most accolades of any documentary film I’ve seen in the last few years. Joel Heath’s documentary observes the Inuit people of the Belcher Islands, in Canada’s Hudson Bay, and their gorgeous, endangered environment. PeopleWith sensational cinematography, the film observes the land, water, seasons, and

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Every Three Seconds: Ordinary People Making Extraordinary Contributions

Every three seconds a human being dies of hunger. Daniel G. Karslake’s film, Every Three Seconds, addresses that global horror as well as extreme poverty. o-HUNGER-facebookKarslake focuses on five formerly ordinary people – including a young child – who have made a difference, a contribution to the alleviating of those two human maladies. 1)

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Orgasm, Inc.: The Strange Science of Female Pleasure

“There are billions and billions of dollars worth of diseases out there!” It was a couple decades ago, on the NBC Nightly News that I heard the above quote, one of their occasional pieces on the unendingly rising costs of pharmaceuticals. If only I had a recording of it! orgasm_incMy ears and brain struggled with the ‘did-I-just-hear-that?!’

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Louder Than a Bomb: Poetry Slam, High School Style

Louder Than a Bomb covers the annual Chicago High Schools-based “Poetry Slam” called, of course, Louder Than a Bomb. LouderThanABomb_0Produced and directed by Jon Siskel and Greg Jacobs, the film follows four teams and four individuals—Adam, Lamar, Nate, and Nova—in the eighth year (2008) of the competition in which 46 teams participate

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Private Violence: Stories of Domestic Abuse

Private Violence is a well-produced documentary about domestic violence in the United States. The statistics on this type of violence – which is primarily perpetrated against women – and the occasional flurry of national news headlines are chronically horrifying. pv-stills-6Produced and directed by Cynthia Hill, and premiering October 20, 2014, on HBO, Priva

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In the Garden of Sounds: A Portrait of Sound Therapist Wolfgang Fasser

Directed, edited, and shot by Nicola Bellucci, In the Garden of Sounds tells the story and demonstrates the work of music and sound therapist Wolfgang Fasser who became blind at an early age. in-the-garden-of-sounds-81ufhg2kawl--aa1500-jpg-8963beecd0232f88Fasser's

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Miss You Can Do It: A Unique Pageant

First Reaction to Press Release: 'Hmm. This is a documentary about a pageant for disabled little girls. A pageant. Pageants highlight the most superficial aspect of our humanity, and ignore character. But this one’s for and about disabled little girls. It won't be easy to stomach this, but I'll check it out.' And then I watched the movie—in tears the whole time. Produced and directed by Ron Davis, and cablecast by HBO, Miss You ...Read More

Speak the Music: Robert Mann and the Mysteries of Chamber Music

What’s the deal with string quartets? I’ll be the first one to admit I’m a philistine, but I’m smart enough to know it’d take a book to answer that question. speakthemusic_splashI ask it, though, because Allan Miller’s Speak the Music is the fourth film I’ve seen in a short period of time about string quartets. I’ll take advice from

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The Act of Killing: The Pride of Genocide

The Act of Killing focuses on the 1965 genocide in Indonesia. The film’s introductory text states: “In 1965, the Indonesian government was overthrown by the military. Anybody opposed to the military dictatorship could be accused of being a ‘communist’—union members, landless farmers, intellectuals, and the A scene from Joshua Oppenheimer's Act of Kil</p> 
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