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

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 Favor covers African efforts to reduce—and, ideally, eradicate—the $20 billion

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The Hardest Day: Love, Loss, and the Last Moments Between

Ross Taylor and Luke Rafferty have made the best possible feature documentary about in-home pet euthanasia. Until watching their documentary, I did not know that was even an option, let alone how widely available it has become. Likely, many people do not know about it. Hopefully, more will learn about in-home pet euthanasia now that the two gentlemen have produced ...Read More

Entangled: The Fight for the Right Whale

Entangled is a masterfully crafted documentary film directed by David Abel, and edited and co-produced by Andy Laub. Both gentlemen are vastly multi-talented and highly accomplished. Their film covers a classic conflict between environmental values and commercial concerns. The North Atlantic Right whale is on the verge of extinction. Fishing lines, ropes and sh

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The Elephant Queen

Filmed in Kenya, Africa, at the Tsavo East National Park and the Greater Amboseli Tsavo Ecosystem, The Elephant Queen follows a herd of elephants through a season of drought and rain, births and deaths. Athena, the story’s Queen, is the 50-year-old sole leader of the herd. Directed by the highly accomplished and lauded team of Victoria Ston

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