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

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

The covering of the Church of Scientology in documentary film could not have been given to a better director than legendary filmmaker Alex Gibney. 2015-01-29-5_58-thumbBased on Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, the documentary features eight former Scientologists speaking frankly about their d

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Bhutto: You Can’t Murder a Legacy

There are two reasons why you should see Bhutto. bhuttobanazir1) Duane Baughman’s documentary film tells the life story of the assassinated Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto – the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation. The film also covers key moments in Pakistan’s history – including the United States’ storied involvement with this Britis

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The Sacred Science: Eight People, Thirty Days, One Journey

Directed by Nicholas J. Polizzi, The Sacred Science follows a group of eight people suffering from a variety of maladies – some of which are life-threatening – on a thirty-day odyssey to the Amazon rainforest where they receive shaman-based treatments. SSTheir journey is to the Indigenous Healing Center of The Paititi Institute located in the upper Amazon basin of Peru. There t

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American Outrage: Continued Exploitation of Native American Territories

Directed by Beth Gage and George Gage, written by Beth, American Outrage  joins the ranks of documentary films which cover the United States government’s abuse and destruction of Native American lands and the corresponding mistreatment of Native Americans. wild-horses-1140x500Carrie and Mary Dann are elderly grandmothers, members of the Shoshone

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The Corporation

Released in 2003, The Corporation is not as relevant to our times as it was 12 years ago. With the passing of Citizens United and the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, the film is much more relevant to our times. It needs to be seen by many more people. The CorporationDirected by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, and based on the book The Corporation: The

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Let the Fire Burn: The City of Brotherly Love in Flames

On May 13, 1985, the political and law enforcement leadership of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania burned down 65 homes in a neighborhood of tightly-spaced row houses. Six adults and five children died. National headlines, of course, were made. The nation’s collective jaw dropped. 04.1E035.Burn1Those who see Jason Osder’s ...Read More

Act of God: Meditations on Lighting, Life, and Chance

With exquisite cinematography Act of God explores the relationship between randomness and meaning through six stories of lightning strikes and one about brainwaves which are an artifact of neural activity, which, in turn, is an analog of lightning. ACT-o-God-picDirector Jennifer Baichwal and cinematographer/husband Nick de Pencier went around the world making what

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In No Great Hurry: 13 Lessons in Life with Saul Leiter

Nearing the end of his life, in his late 80s, Saul Leiter is gracefully suffering a man with a video camera following him around his home and in the streets, asking annoying questions. in_no_great_hurryWearing baggy clothes, and laughing frequently, the legendary fine art photographer indulges his interlocutor with thoughts and feelings of himself, photography, pe

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Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: ENTER HERE

Produced and directed by Amei Wallach, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: ENTER HERE is primarily a profile of Russian-born Ilya Kabakov. I write ‘primarily’ because wife Emilia is both a creative partner and helps with business and other dealings with the outside world. She has much to say. The film also includes portions of a long letter to Ilya from his mother presented via voice-over. Ilya Kabakov in s</p> 
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Perfect Strangers: one gently used kidney – free to a good home

Through happenstance Ellie Edwards learned – in great detail – of the dire need for human kidney donors. She decided to donate one of her kidneys – motivated by nothing more or less than altruism. Edwards learned about the system of kidney donors and recipients, and found Kathy who had been receiving dialysis for many dt.common.streams.StreamServer ...Read More