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

The Disappearance of My Mother

Benedetta Barzini became a star fashion model in the 1960s. In the 1970s she identified herself as a Marxist, became a member of the Italian Communist Party, as well as a radical feminist organizer, and taught at Polytechnic University of Milan and New Academy of Fine Arts. Barzini birthed four children one of whom, Beniamino Barrese, became a photographer and cinematographer. The two enjoyed a positive mother-son relationship—until Barrese’s

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After Parkland

Right now, February 8, 2020, you go to IMDB and look up ‘after parkland’ and you can see the film’s rating, 6.6 on a scale of one to ten—based on 23 raters. Did they even see this devastating documentary about the February 14, 2018, shooting of 34 students by a lone gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, leaving 17 dead and 17 wounded?! In ...Read More

Clean Hands: The Challenge of a Generous, Loving Gift

Written, directed, and shot by Michael Dominic, Clean Hands follows an impoverished family in Nicaragua’s capital, Managua—the home of La Chureca, central America’s largest garbage dump. People frequent La Chureca seeking food and any items they deem useful. The Lopez family—children Chico, Zulema, Toño, and Manual, with their parents, Javier and Blan

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Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band

“I don’t know of any other group of musicians with a story equivalent to the story of The Band.” Robbie Robertson “I’ve never been in a band that long. I ran away, usually, and would move on to the next thing that was attractive to me. So, I didn’t have a sense of brotherhood. I was in great awe of their brotherhood—it was the soul of The Band.” Eric Clapton   Directed by Daniel Roher, ...Read More

MOTHERLOAD: In Praise of Cargo Bikes

There are two stories in Liz Canning’s MOTHERLOAD. The first is Canning’s own narrative about the personal experiences and social forces that brought her to the world of ‘cargo bikes’—bicycles that transport more than just the rider. The second story is about the emergence of cargo bikes as a global phenomenon. What is quick

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Catnip Nation

“There are about as many feral cats in the United States as there are pet cats. So that would put them anywhere from 70 to 90 million.” Kathleen O’Malley, Director of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) Education, NYC Feral Cat Initiative Tina Traster’s Catnip Nation addresses the fates of these millions of feral cats, and the human co

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Community First, A Home for the Homeless

Community First! Village is a 27 acre master plan community designed specifically to lift the chronically homeless off the streets of the Austin [Texas] area, into a place they can call home—heal from the ravages of living in the streets, rediscovering a purpose in their life, and then going out, and beginning

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For Sama

For Sama is director Waad al-Kateab’s five years of experience living through war in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Her documentary is ‘a love letter’ to her daughter, Sama, who was born into violence and chaos. Journalist al-Kateab filmed throughout the five years, and narrates the documentary. “Sama,” she voices in her love letter, “I’

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The 600: The Soldiers’ Story

“We are alive because God used them to rescue us. And they had the passion to that we would live again. That is the pleasure that we have, and we are thankful for that.” Survivor of Rwandan genocide. The ‘them’ in this grateful survivor’s statement is a battalion of 600 Rwandan soldiers who saved countless lives and were instrumental in ending the carnage. The soldiers were part of a movement to bring lasting peace to the nation. The military facet of this mo

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The Woman Who Loves Giraffes

“If you’re working on giraffes, she’s the pioneer, and wrote the textbook. Anne was the first person to go to Africa to study the behavior of a wild animal.” John Doherty, Queens University Belfast, Reticulated Giraffe Project Anne Innis Dagg defied convention. At the age of three Dagg was inspired when, on her first visit to Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, she viewed her first giraffe. The toddler had already expressed much interest in this strange, beautiful, elegant beast before that portentous visit.

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