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

From Baghdad to The Bay: The Epic Odyssey of Ghazwan Alsharif

“I lost my family, I lost my country, I lost my career, I lost everything.” From Baghdad to The Bay follows Iraqi Ghazwan Alsharif on a years-long, harrowing journey from his homeland to the San Francisco Bay Area. Subsequent to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, Alsharif became an interpreter and guide for the US m

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How Hot Is It Going to Get?: “The Climate Crisis is a Voting Crisis”

How Hot Is It Going to Get? is two movies in one: An expertly produced primer on human-caused global warming, and a plea for young people of the United States to vote Democratic every two years. The implicit assumption is a Democratically-driven government would take meaningful, effective steps to reduce the inev

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Weed The People: Cannabis and Pediatric Cancer

“I just find it absolutely staggering to accept that in this day and age, with the billions of dollars spent on cancer research, that the medicine that we were relying upon is made in somebody’s kitchen.” Mother of Young Cancer Patient Produced by the filmmaking team of Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein, Weed The People explores the

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The Providers: A Journey with Three Country Doctors

“This community, it’s so much a part of who I am. I can’t separate myself from it. I could’ve done a lot of different things besides medicine. I could make a lot of money, live wherever I want. But, I can’t turn my back.” Matt Probst, PA The Providers documents the lives of three healthcare providers who serve the people in rural

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Give Us This Day: Murder in East Saint Louis

In the calendar year 2017, the City of East Saint Louis, Illinois had the highest murder rate in the world. In Give Us This Day veteran filmmakers Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist follow three of t

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Resistance at Tule Lake: Japanese American Concentration Camp Victims Rebel

Any other time, I may have passed on viewing this documentary film about the World War II internment of 127,000 Japanese Americans in concentration camps. Two-thirds of this population were American citizens. Instead, I have watched the film for one simple reason—history is repeating itself. Immigrants have been

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Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable

The prime virtue of documentary films is the revealing of stories, events, images, and people which otherwise would be challenging or impossible to find. There are virtually no limits to the subjects or topics documentaries may explore. For instance, street photography—an alive, vital medium of art which has become even more obscured by the ubiquity of cameras. That is, everyone is a street photographer. Only a minute few are celebrated artists. Sasha Wate

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The Reluctant Radical: Fighting for All of Our Lives

In my old age I’ve become a reductionist—reducing various and sundry matters to their essence. In the matter of our Earth’s environment, I make the analogy of a chess board. Us humans are the players—the board, our environment which supports the play. Us players are rapidly destroying our board. I reduce my emotional response to this destruction to one of pure pain. In Lindsey Grayzel’s ...Read More

Quincy: The Life and Times of…

You go to the IMDB site for Alan Hicks’ and Rashida Jones’ Quincy and count the number of celebrities who appear in this documentary about the legendary Quincy Jones, and you will find at least 76 people who, like yours truly, are in awe of the talent and accomplishments of this iconic showbiz survivor. ...Read More

A Leaf of Faith: Kill the Pain, Not the Patient

Directed by Chris Bell and David Baca, Jr., A Leaf of Faith explores the legal issues of, and personal use of ‘Kratom’—also known as Mitragyna speciosa, a tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Various and sundry concoctions are made from the plant’s leaves, and are consumed for recreational and medicina

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