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


Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry

“I honestly don’t know how any artist of any age with this kind of [meteoric] trajectory is doing it without a parent—someone who loves you more than life itself, and would do anything for you…” Maggie May Baird Billie Eilish’s mother is reflecting with empathy and concern about the plight of young people who find themselves in the midst of show business success, but lack the experiences of having been raised by mindful and compassionate

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Dads: In Celebration of Fatherhood

“I feel like being a father made me the man I am. My children taught me to be authentic, and be honest with myself. Fatherhood has given me a whole new identity.” Glen Henry, father The title says it all. Bryce Dallas Howard’s Dads features dads—some famous, others not so—speaking their thoughts, experiences,

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A Dog Named Gucci

April, 1994, Mobile, Alabama A 15 year old runaway teenager who went by the street name of ‘Baby Girl’ was given a puppy—a Chow/Husky mix. Doug James, an adjunct professor of communications arts at Spring Hill College, became the second owner of this puppy. He is telling parts of the story of the dog named Gucci. Shauna Cooley Busby (Baby Girl) was in a bad crowd of boys who eventually were demanding sexual favors of her, which she refused. In ret

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I Married the War

“The thing I needed most from him which was the talking and feeling, was the thing he needed least. He came back from the war, and he’s sitting right beside me, but he’s not really there.” Anne Jackson In 2011 Ken Rodgers and Betty Rodgers gave us their feature documentary 'Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor' about a Viet Nam battle called Siege of Khe Sanh. The couple emphasized that this film was neither a pro-war nor an anti-war film—instead, it s

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Orchestrating Change: The Odysseys of Ronald Braunstein and Caroline Whiddon

“I never contemplated the Me2/orchestras being this vehicle for social change. And Ronald had this wild idea, and now we see it changing people, taking them from this place of darkness into a place of strength and confidence.” Caroline Whiddon, Cofounder and Executive Director of Me2/Orchestras When he was ten years old, Ronald Braunstein’s father took him to see the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra play Beethoven’s Ninth. Right then and there the you

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17 Blocks

Davy Rothbart’s 17 Blocks follows two decades of a family living in a lower class neighborhood 17 blocks away from the United States Capitol building. Rothbart initiated filming, yet some of the featured characters picked up cameras and have continued documenting their lives. The community has its fair share of drugs, crime, and occasional murders associated with under-resour

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“I feel like once you’ve survived Maria, you can survive anything else that can happen in this country.” Hurricane Maria survivor From Wikipedia: “Hurricane Maria was a deadly Category 5 hurricane that devastated Dominica, St Croix, and Puerto Rico in September 2017. It is regarded as the worst natural disaster in recorded history to affect those islands, and was also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Mitch in 1998. Total losses from the hurrican

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Freightened: The Real Price of Shipping

The more hidden a problem is, the more urgent it is to solve that problem. Once in a while my The Marin Post editor discovers a documentary film and informs me about it. This one is about shipping—giant ships bringing products to and fro for us to utilize and consume. ‘What a seemingly dry and obscure topic’ was my immediate reaction. It took only a few moments watching the film to realize it is as crucial a documentary for us humans to se

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M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity

Every once in awhile I see a documentary film about which I am on fire. M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity is now one of them. In telling and showing the epic story of M.C. Escher’s life and art, director Robin Lutz has produced a masterpiece worthy of the artist’s legacy and legend. Lutz has gathered Es

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Amy Tan: Unintended Memoir

Amy Tan is seated, searching through photograph albums and piles of photos. The acclaimed, prolific author is opening the documentary film about her life and times. “All right,” she says to herself, “where is her photos? I used to have this all organized. And now… okay, let me see... This is my mother as a young woman, with her friends. This is the back of the mansion where she livedؙ—just out of Shanghai. Tan continues, “In my office is a time capsule.

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