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

Genesis 2.0: Humanity’s New Beginning

Producer/director/editor Christian Frie, and co-director/cinematographer Maxim Arbugaev have given our world a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking. Genesis 2.0 introduces three stories. 1) Groups of men who scour the remote, uninhabited New Siberian Islands for wooly mammoth (mammuthus primigenius) tusks for commercial

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Grass Is Greener: A Crucial Documentary About Cannabis in the United States

Yours truly has viewed at least five documentaries about cannabis. Grass Is Greener is the most important film I have seen on this subject. The film’s significance is grounded in its coverage of the African American experience of cannabis. Directed and narrated by accomplished actor/director, Fred Brathwaite (aka Fab 5 Freddy), Grass Is Greener provides the socio-political-cultural history of cannabis. That hist

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The Raft: 11 People, 101 Days

The Raft is a documentary film about one man’s folly of an ocean odyssey, and the unanticipated results of same. Mexican social anthropologist Santiago Genovés designed an ‘experiment’ to address—and forgive me for being inarticulate here—something about humans, peace, and violence. On May 11, 1973, Geno

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An Elephant in the Room: The Healing Work of ‘Good Grief’

Directed by Katrine Philp, An Elephant in the Room highlights the work of Good Grief—an organization that provides support to children who have lost parents or siblings. The film has no narration. Instead we are with the children, their facilitators, and the childrens’ remaining fami

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Havana, From On High

Directed by Pedro Ruiz, Havana, From On High is a cinematic, poetic, and unofficial sociological study of Cuba in transition. Eleven Cubans are interviewed and followed speaking about their lives as well as their thoughts about Cuba with references to the Revolution, Fidel, Che, the United States, and, of

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The Dog Doc: Integrative Medicine for Dogs and Cats

Cindy Meehl’s The Dog Doc is both a profile of integrative medicine veterinarian Marty Goldstein and an affirmation of the healing power integrative medicine provides—to both human and non-human animals. When Goldstein entered veterinary practice he was well educated and skilled, yet he was in chronic poor health. He found his way to

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Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story is a profile of, a eulogy to, and an homage to, of course, Mark Baumer (December 19, 1983 – January 21, 2017). Our hero was a prolific writer and poet, and a passionate environmental activist. Mark died while walking along a roadside. Attempting to walk barefoot from the east coa

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Dawnland: Rare Truth and Reconciliation in the United States

“I remember, they took us to Old Town, there’s a great big house. There were other state foster kids there, and they left us there. I remember we all slept in one big room. We had bunk beds. If you wet the bed, you had to stay in that bed for 24 hours, and you couldn’t get up. If you had to pee, you had to pee in the bed. If you stole food, you couldn’t eat for 24 hours. (crying) I never cried, I never cried. “I think it was only one time we told t

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The Story of Plastic: The True Cost of Plastic Pollution

“Plastics are treated as a product that miraculously appears from nowhere and it goes to nowhere. That invisibility, that magic nature of plastics is something that the oil and gas industry has perpetuated and promoted very effectively for decades. But what was once invisible is becoming visible. The plastic crisis doesn’t start when the plastics enter the ocean, it starts when the oil and the gas leave the wellhead, and it keeps on being a problem at eve

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Piano to Zanskar: A Man, a Mountain, and a Piano

“What I’ve been able to do up to now is just plan the next footstep—one step ahead on the next goal to overcome. But, now we’ve done it, I can take a moment to actually see what is around, and it’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful place. And, I just consider myself very fortunate to have had this opportunity to see it through” Desmond O'Keeffe The title says it all in Michal Sulima’s ...Read More