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 Story of Plastic: The True Cost of Plastic Pollution

“Plastics are treated as a product that miraculously appears from nowhere and it goes to nowhere. That invisibility, that magic nature of plastics is something that the oil and gas industry has perpetuated and promoted very effectively for decades. But what was once invisible is becoming visible. The plastic crisis doesn’t start when the plastics enter the ocean, it starts when the oil and the gas leave the wellhead, and it keeps on being a problem at eve

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Piano to Zanskar: A Man, a Mountain, and a Piano

“What I’ve been able to do up to now is just plan the next footstep—one step ahead on the next goal to overcome. But, now we’ve done it, I can take a moment to actually see what is around, and it’s beautiful, it’s a beautiful place. And, I just consider myself very fortunate to have had this opportunity to see it through” Desmond O'Keeffe The title says it all in Michal Sulima’s ...Read More

The Mill: An Environmental Dilemma

The mill in David Craig’s well-produced environmental documentary is in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, Canada. The multinational company has been manufacturing paper products there—mostly tissue paper and paper towels—since the 1960s. Within Pictou County is the Mi’kmaq fishing community of Pictou Landing. For more than six decades Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corp. has been pumping a toxic pulp effluent into a body of water called Boat Harbour which is adjacent t

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Slay The Dragon: Sabotaging the Saboteurs

“I absolutely think you can draw a line between voter suppression efforts and the gerrymandering efforts, and election results. We are seeing efforts to undermine the very core values of American democracy. Nothing is more fundamental in America than having the right to vote, and having the right to representation. And those two core values have been undermined by this new assault on democracy.” Ari Berman, Journalist, Mother Jones. Gerrymandering is one of

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A Prayer for Compassion: A Powerful Call for Veganism

‘Compassion: A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.’ There is no want for documentary films about plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan diets. A few of these films have found a relatively large viewership. A

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The Wild: How Do You Save What You Love?

“Something’s happening to me. I’m beginning to feel things again. It’s unsettling. This is why and how I got on that plane 55 days into recovery—despite my crippling fear. The wild out here feeds the wild in me, is the wild in me. The wild in me is eternal, that thing untainted, pure. This connection to the wild is the connection to the Source.” Mark Titus, Director Alaska’s Bristol Bay is the only fully natural salmon run left on planet Earth. The Bay

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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