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

Best and Most Beautiful Things

“This movie has good music, kinky stuff, a cute cat, romance, drama, and is definitely not normal.” Michelle Smith michelle-smithDirector Garrett Zevgetis has had his first feature picked up for theatrical distribution—a rare accomplishment in the documentary film world. In Best and Most Beautiful Things Zevgetis follows

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Llyn Foulkes: The Most Famous Artist You Never Heard Of

Llyn Foulkes is an LA-based carpenter, musician, composer, singer, yodeler....and artist. foulkesCo-produced and co-directed by first-time feature directors Tamar Halpern and Chris Quilty, Llyn Foulkes One Man Band (the film’s full title) follows the multi-talented, self-absorbed gentleman through seven years of ups and downs. H

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Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words

14249923_1818511575034008_7893490969621874714_oEat That Question is an introduction to the professional life and philosophy of legendary composer/musician/filmmaker Frank Zappa. Director Thorsten Schütte chose the gracef

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Among the Believers: Religious Strife in Pakistan

amongthebelieversAmong the Believers is as horrifying and gratifying a documentary as I’ve ever seen. Directors Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Naqvi were given rare access to Abdul Aziz Ghazi, an Islamic cleric in Pakistan who—as of the time of production—heads a network of madrassahs called the Red Mosque. These are schools where children live and study. They are requir

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Vanishing Pearls: The Oystermen of Pointe a la Hache

vanishing-pearlsWritten, produced, and directed by Nailah Jefferson, the double entendre-titled Vanishing Pearls covers the impacts on a small town on the Louisiana coast devastated by the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Pointe a la Hache is a community of African American oystermen beset by decades of racism and economic repression. But,

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001-ss1112n-0135Directed by Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Michael Pitiot, written by Pitiot, Terra is a beatific, passionate, bold documentary about life on Earth. The film is narrated in French, with English subtitles, and available on Netflix. The narration is spoken in the first person, and that person is the spirit of humanity. The focus i

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Deep Web: Freedom and Repression in the Cyber World

alex-winterWritten, produced, and directed by prolific filmmaker Alex Winter, Deep Web provides a brief introduction to the Internet’s underground—the deep web and the dark web. After this introduction the film focuses on the legal case of Ross William Ulbricht who was arrested, trie

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Gardeners of Eden: Saving Elephants in the Wild

gardenersofeden5Produced, directed, shot, and edited by Austin Peck and Annaliese Vandenberg, Gardeners of Eden is another look at our slaughter of elephants in the wild. The emphasis, though, is on initiatives to save wild elephants and end the slaughter. The film reports that out of a population of 3.5 million, 300,000 wild elephants remain—and their survival is in question. The total elimination of wild elephants is still a tragic possibility. Of

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Closure: A Documentary About Adoption

This story transcends geographical boundaries, racial boundaries, socio-economic and cultural boundaries. Although the film’s title denotes completion, this is a film about many beginnings. screenshotangmeetingdeb300dpicg-jpgClosure is Bryan Tucker’s first feature documentary film. Quickly we see he is a natural-born filmmaker. Angela wa

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The Ghosts in Our Machine: The Work of Photographer Jo-Anne McArthur

“You connect with them because you’re looking in their eyes, and they’re looking in yours.” Jo-Anne McArthur ronI have never had such trepidation about sharing my review of a documentary film. I know how hard the information and images in this film are to stomach, to let in to our minds and hearts. I know the reluctance to even start this film about animal abuse and slaughter. For reasons I struggle to understand, it seems people can learn about the myriad kinds o

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