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

Bird of Prey: Saving the Rarest and Largest Eagle on Earth

Eric Liner’s Bird of Prey covers herculean efforts to save the endangered Philippine eagle. There is very little old forest left in the Philippines. Consequently, the numbers of this magnificent avian creature are estimated between 100 and 800 individuals. Neil Rettig is the film’s central human character. In 1977, he provided the first moving i

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Strangers on the Earth: Walking the Camino

Triston Cook’s first feature documentary—Strangers on this Earth—introduces the uninitiated viewer to El Camino de Santiago, a ...Read More

Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

“For me, garden design isn’t just about plants, it is about emotion, atmosphere, a sense of contemplation. You try to move people with what you do. You look at this, and it goes deeper than what you see. It reminds you of something in the genes—nature, or the longing for nature.” – Piet Oudolf” Five Seasons is a documentary film for p

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Morgenthau: Three Men. Three Generations. One Fight

Released in 2015, 7th Art’s Morgenthau is one of a countless number of documentaries that deserve a much wider audience. The film is both a series of history lessons that encompass three centuries, and profiles of three noble human beings: Henry Morgenthau Senior, United States Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire; Henry Morgenthau Junior, United

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Tribal Justice: An Innovative Approach to Justice for Native Americans

Yours truly brings a bias to the understanding and reviewing of Anne Makepeace’s Tribal Justice. That bias is one of being a champion of ‘restorative justice’—a compassionate approach to just

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The Cinema Travellers: Life with an Indian Traveling Movie Theatre

Mohammed runs a travelling movie theater in India. Prakash repairs 35mm film projectors—and has designed and built one of his own. These are the two principals in Shirley Abraham’s and Amit Madheshiya’s The Cinema Travellers. The two filmmakers hang out with Prakash, and follow Mohammed’s theatre around India. They do not p

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Written and directed by Alexandra Dean, Bombshell is a straight-forward cinematic biography of Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, also known as Hedy Lamarr. Although there are several biographies about Lamarr, her life has not been covered in documentary form. There is an inciting incident in the production of this film—the one

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Lives Well Lived: Celebrating the Secrets, Wit, and Wisdom of Age

There are certain filmed stories that will stay with us the rest of our lives. First time feature film director Sky Bergman’s Lives Well Lived is one of them. Bergman interviews 40 people between the ages of 75 and 100. Each tells her or his story. Between some interviews are interstitials in which a few interviewees respond to ques

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Wild Wild Country: Love and Hate in the State of Oregon

“She is drugged,” the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh states emphatically, “she is on hard drugs. I have never made love to her, that much is certain. Perhaps that is the jealousy. She always wanted... (pauses) but I have made it a point never make love with a secretary.” (His large group of followers laugh loudly.) “Love affair never ends. It can turn into a hate affair. She did not prove to be a woman. She proved to be a perfect bitch.” (More laughter.) She

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$our Grapes: Stories of the Elegant Hustle

Directed by Reuben Atlas and Jerry Rothwell, $our Grapes tells the story of a massive heist in the American wine industry—the sale, at auctions, of phony rare bottles of wines. The perpetrator was Rudy Kurniawan, a charming young man of Chinese descent, based in Indonesia, and living in the United States. Early in the film we lear

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