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

Queen without Land

“When I look out this window which had been chewed by polar bears, both from the outside and inside, I think maybe I belong to the last generation who will see a polar bear walking on the ice outside.” Asgeir Helgestad Asgeir Helgestad is a prolific, multi-talented wildlife cameraman from Norway. For more than 20 years his second home—and the location of this film’s production—has been on Svalbard, a group of islands between Norway and the North Po

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Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own

Directed and shot by Daniel Traub, with music by Simon Taufique, Ursula von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own introduces the artist, her life’s path, and her sensational work—all in under an hour. The film’s website describes von Rydingsvard as one of the few women in the world working in ‘monumental sc

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arrangiarsi: Pizza… and the Art of Living

“Before bringing me to meet her family in Italy, my mother told me, ‘you will find out who you really are.’” Matteo Troncone   Had my mentor David Hakim not shared arrangiarsi: Pizza... and the Art of Living I would have never experienced the joy of Matteo Troncone’s cinematic ode to

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Land of Little Rivers

Aaron Weisblatt’s Land of Little Rivers introduces the worlds of trout fly fishing. In a very short 90 minutes the film introduces a growing community of people dedicated to this particular approach to fishing—one which demands hard-earned expertise and infinite patience, along with therapeutic benefits. From th

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A Towering Task: The Story of the Peace Corps

“It took me years to understand how deeply the Peace Corps experience affected my ability to be a good journalist. It was in the Peace Corps that I really learned empathy.” Maureen Orth, Journalist A Towering Task is exactly what the film’s subtitle suggests, a history of the United States’ Peace Corps. I wond

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Out of My Head: Migraine

“Frequently, when they come to the office they say, I want my migraine cured. I would look at them and say, If I can cure your migraine, I’m going to get the Nobel Prize. That’s how big that is.” Dr. Allan Purdy, Prof. of Neurology, Dalhousie University Written, directed, and narrated by Susanna Styron, Out of My Head<

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Pick of the Litter: The Vital Work of Guide Dogs for the Blind

“If they’re given a command that might put their person in harm’s way, they have to make the decision to not take that command. Every other service dog is trained to take commands no matter what.”   Pick of the Litter is an introduction to the work of Guide Dogs for the Blind which trains dogs, and

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Pressing On: The Letterpress Film

“The new generation is fascinated with obsolete technology. They’ve grown up with extendible fingers, Game Boy, texting—and here’s letterpress? You betcha.” Paul Brown, letterpress printer For a little more than four hundred years printing was done by a process called ‘letterpress.’ Good ol’ Johannes Gutenberg<

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Words from a Bear: A Profile of N. Scott Momaday

“My grandmother was a storyteller. She knew her way around words. She never learned to read or write, but somehow she knew the good in reading and writing. She’d learned how to listen and delight. She had learned that in words and language—and there only—she could have whole and consummate being. "You see for her, words were medicine. They were magic and invisible. They came from nothing into sound and meaning. They were beyond price—they co

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Of Fathers and Sons

Of Fathers and Sons is Talak Derki’s bold and brilliant documentary of his return to his homeland, covering the lives of a radical Islamic family and their small community. From the summer of 2014, through September 2017, Derki spent 300 days with a Syrian family living in the detritus of chronic war. The central c

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