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 Newburgh Sting: Massive Governmental Malfeasance

The official website for HBO’s The Newburgh Sting includes a Resources link which lists several organizations: Council on American-Islamic Relations, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, American Civil Liberties Union, Muslim Public Affairs Council, Center for Constitutions Rights, and Human Rights Watch. I’m out of breath.the.newburgh.</p> 
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The Parking Lot Movie

LOTIn 1986, Chris Farina purchased a parking lot in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2009, Meghan Eckman produced and directed a documentary, The Parking Lot Movie, about the attendants working at Farina’s ‘The Corner Parking Lot.’ Located near the University of Virginia, adjacent to the backs of several bars as well as train tracks, and featuring a wooden shack built in 1986

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To Be Takei: A Star’s Trek for Life, Liberty, and Love

Produced and directed by San Francisco filmmaker Jennifer M. Kroot, To Be Takei is both a profile and biography of actor/activist George Takei. Sulu2266I never cease to be amazed by how much information – and entertainment – a talented filmmaker can weave into a 90-minute film. Kroot’s film is no exception. In that short period of time we see and hear Takei and hi

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Ground Operations: Battlefields to Farmfields

Produced and directed by Dulanie Ellis, Ground Operations tells an almost literal swords-to-ploughshares story of the solving of two American problems with one solution.ground Problem One: Our nation’s treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is shameful – as evidenced by unemployment, homelessness, suicide, mental illness, and the well-documented

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AYA Awakenings: Into the World of Ayahuasca

Aya Awakenings is a superbly crafted, highly sophisticated cinematic journey into psychedelic and transcendent consciousness. abstract-multicolor-fractals-psychedelic-fresh-new-hd-wallpaperProduced and directed by Timothy Parish and Rak Razam, based on Razam’s bo

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Music from the Big House: Blues for Life  

Canadian singer/songwriter Rita Chiarelli wanted to visit the ‘birth of the blues’ which was, as she understood, Angola prison in Louisiana. There she found prisoners serving life sentences who play and sing music with the skills of seasoned professionals.big_house_13 Chiarelli resolved to put on a show of their music. It took her ten years, but she did it, and that sh

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Muscle Shoals: A Slice of American Music History

Muscle Shoals is a city in northwest Alabama, along the south side of the Tennessee River, in the United States of America. Muscle Shoals is a documentary masterpiece which covers the birth and history of the city as an international hub for R&B, pop, and rock singers. In telling and showing Muscle Shoals’ musical story, first time director Greg 'Freddy' Camalier also tells the story of Rick Hall whose life appears to have emerged from Greek mythology – an amalgam of Homer’s The Odyssey and the The Phoenix. Raised in abject poverty, Hall experienced tragedies throughout his life. After a few of them, he opene

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Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart

The answer is: Phil Spector and Pamela Smart.   The question is: Who are the two imprisoned people who have had HBO filmscaptivated-the-trials-of-pamela-smart-1024 about their trials and that question their convictions and sentences? Written and directed by David Mamet, and starring Helen Mirren and A

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Connected: Tiffany Shlain Saves the World

No, seriously, she does. With her film, Connected: An Autoblogography About Love, Death, and Technology. Let me explain. Webby-Awards-Founder-Tiffany-Shlain-720x340Tiffany Shlain is an internationally renowned multi-media producer/writer/director/speaker/author/innovator, and leader. Just a part

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May I Be Frank: How Frank Ferrante Got His Grove Back

You can go to the website of May I Be Frank and read much praise for this film – and I add my voice to that chorus. But in addition to being an inspiring story of personal transformation, May I Be Frank is a lesson in money and filmmaking. Near the beginning of the film we hear one of the three filmmakers express what Frankappears to the eye as quite obvious: “We

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