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

Kevorkian: An Intimate Portrait

“Jack presented the facts; we chose not to listen to him.” Neal Nicol Kevorkian, an HBO documentary, covers the later life of right-to-die champion Jack Kevorkian, M.D. Directed by Matthew Galkin, it is a companion piece to the HBO narrative You Don’t Know Jack starring Al Pacino, and directed by Barry Levinson. JK ...Read More

Taylor Camp: A Timeless Time  

The cultural explosions of the legendary and now mythical sixties were too numerous and varied, too wide and deep to be captured in toto in any one documentary or narrative film. The best that can be done is to cover individual facets of the revolutions – and hopefully a body of work will eventually emerge to taylor-camp-kauai-kevin-smithform

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Bidder 70: Birth of an Activist

Well, I can’t compete. I can’t put the introduction to this film more succinctly than the film’s DVD case: “Winner of 20 festival awards, 'Bidder 70' is Tim DeChristopher, the student who monkey-wrenched the 2008 fraudulent Bureau of Land Management Oil and Gas Lease Auction. Bidding 1.8 million to save 22,000 Timacres of pristine Utah wilderness surrounding Arches and Canyonlands Nationa

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Banksy Does New York

HBO’s Banksy Does New York  is yet another shameless attempt to exploit the phenomenon of ‘Banksy,’ a faux character created by a small group of artisans and their enablers. Given the success of the first major film about this composite character called ‘Banksy’ (Exit Through the Gift Shop), and given the media might banksy-new-york-5_Fotor ...Read More

Emperor of Hemp  

Produced in 1999, and narrated by the ubiquitous Peter Coyote, Emperor of Hemp is a tightly focused portrait and biography of marijuana and hemp crusader Jack Herer whose early life was as a patriotic Vietnam veteran and businessman who deplored the emerging ‘counter culture’ – especially its anti-war/anti-government expressions and use of drugs. IM00...Read More


 “Trumble,” I heard Bette say when I asked if she had any new documentaries. As of this writing Bette is the owner of Larkspur's Bette’s Flicks, one of an extremely rare species of brick-and-mortar video stores. dalton-trumbo“Wasn’t he the guy who did the special effects for ‘2001’?” I queried, excited to see such a film. “No,” she sai

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The Judge and The General

As I’ve written more than once, if a documentary – or a narrative – effectively tells just one story, it is successful. Produced by a San Francisco Bay Area team, The Judge and The General tells many stories. The two primary ones are Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 ascension to power in the South American nation of Chile, judge_and_the_general-01 ...Read More

Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders

MEDECINES SANS FRONTIERES (MSF), Doctors Without Borders, is headquartered in Paris, France. The organization provides emergency medical needs to ‘populations in distress.’ It provides treatment to ten million people annually – out of a global population of more than 2 billion who have no access to LIVING-articleLargeessential medical services. Ther

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K2: Siren of the Himalayas

K2: Siren of the Himalayas tells two stories of K2. One is about a 2009 team attempting to ascend what is regarded as the most dangerous mountain to ascend to the summit. 59o5NIn addition to pursuing their avocation, this group is also celebrating and honoring the hundredth anniversary of the first expedition to attempt the K2 summit lead by the Duke of Abruzzi. This is the film

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A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt

Chocolate covered scallops; espuma of calf brains and foie gras; and beer and truffle soup are just three of hundreds—if not thousands—of dishes created by celebrity chef Paul Liebrandt over his decades-long career. Inspired by Liebrandt's avant garde dishes and roller-coaster story, first time feature director Sally Rowe serves up A Matter of Taste, her homage to the Master Chef. ...Read More