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

Alive Inside: The Power of Music

Alive Inside tells the story of Dan Cohen’s discovery that when people suffering from age-related memory loss – my preferred term for the various kinds of ways we lose memory – are given iPods with headphones playing musics from their past, they come alive. AliveCohen’s story arc is one of struggling to make available iPods and headphones for every resident in every nursing home in

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An Apology to Elephants: The Abuse and Rescue of Elephants

An Apology to Elephants is yet another demonstration of the visceral power of film. In thirty-nine short minutes we are struck with images and stories of our abuse, torture, and exploitation of elephants. We are also informed – or reminded – about the many virtuous qualities these intelligent beings possess and manifest, virtues that only serve to amplify the horrors of our treatment of them. ...Read More

Anita: Speaking Truth to Power

Produced, written, and directed by Frieda Mock, Anita: Speaking Truth to Power tells the story of African American Anita Hill who, in the fall of 1991, at a United States Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the confirmation of Clarence Thomas as a member of the United States Supreme Court, testified against that Anitaconfirmation on the basis of her experience of being sexually har

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Chasing Ice: James Balog and His Extreme Ice Survey

Directed by Jeff Orlowski, Chasing Ice is the best-produced and most important environmental documentary since Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth. Orlowski tells two stories here: The life and work of celebrated photographer James Balog and the melting of our Earth’s ice caused by massive amounts of man-made carbon dioxide emissions. fs_chasingice_3Ini

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CRUDE is accomplished and prolific filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s coverage of an ongoing, epic struggle for justice of 30,000 Ecuadorians with oil-giant Chevron. A portion of Ecuador the size of Rhode Island was virtually invaded by Texaco – with complicity of the Ecuadorean government – in 1964. crude-blog480Decades of environmental destruction of this pristin

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Earth Made of Glass: Post-Genocide Rwanda

Initially cablecast by HBO, Earth Made of Glass opens with a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "There is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime and the earth is made of glass." EARTHThe rogue here is France, which this film states was complicit in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in which one million people were killed. Co-written, co-produced, and directed by Deborah Scranton

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Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story    

It’s happened again, I’ve seen a documentary film that is documentary filmmaking at its finest. Written, produced, and directed by accomplished documentarian Brad Bernstein, Far Out Isn’t Far Enough presents the life and times of artistic genius Tomi Ungerer. I am as excited by the brilliance of Bernstein’s filmmaking as I am by the raging genius and epic biography of Jean-Thomas "Tomi" Ungerer. faro</p> 
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Eames: The Architect and the Painter

First of all, I thought the name, 'Eames,' in the title referred to some guy who's really talented and made a name for himself as both an architect and a painter. eames_slidesNote the obvious sexism, of course, in my first thought. Note, also, I never heard or read the name, 'Eames,' until I saw the title in an email from First Run Features, the distributor of Eames: The A

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Elemental: Three Environmental Activists

It was 1954, in Charleston, South Carolina. I was 6 years old. This is the first film I remember seeing at a movie theater. FILMROUNDUP6-articleLargeA small boat in the ocean, with a captain, one harpoon gun, and a small crew. It’s a whaling boat. The boat comes upon a whale, but this whale’s different – he stands up on his tail, supported by

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bag it: is your life too plastic?

‘Bag it’ refers to the request of someone to put something in a bag. The term also refers to the request of someone to someone else to stop thinking or doing something. beachflat_0As I type these words I have two cabinets filled with the plastic grocery bags I’ve been hoarding over the last two years knowing that the ban is coming. It’s come. Like most people, but

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