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

Private Violence: Stories of Domestic Abuse

Private Violence is a well-produced documentary about domestic violence in the United States. The statistics on this type of violence – which is primarily perpetrated against women – and the occasional flurry of national news headlines are chronically horrifying. pv-stills-6Produced and directed by Cynthia Hill, and premiering October 20, 2014, on HBO, Private

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In the Garden of Sounds: A Portrait of Sound Therapist Wolfgang Fasser

Directed, edited, and shot by Nicola Bellucci, In the Garden of Sounds tells the story and demonstrates the work of music and sound therapist Wolfgang Fasser who became blind at an early age. in-the-garden-of-sounds-81ufhg2kawl--aa1500-jpg-8963beecd0232f88Fasser's i

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Miss You Can Do It: A Unique Pageant

First Reaction to Press Release: 'Hmm. This is a documentary about a pageant for disabled little girls. A pageant. Pageants highlight the most superficial aspect of our humanity, and ignore character. But this one’s for and about disabled little girls. It won't be easy to stomach this, but I'll check it out.' And then I watched the movie—in tears the whole time. Produced and directed by Ron Davis, and cablecast by HBO, Miss You ...Read More

Speak the Music: Robert Mann and the Mysteries of Chamber Music

What’s the deal with string quartets? I’ll be the first one to admit I’m a philistine, but I’m smart enough to know it’d take a book to answer that question. speakthemusic_splashI ask it, though, because Allan Miller’s Speak the Music is the fourth film I’ve seen in a short period of time about string quartets. I’ll take advice from th

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The Act of Killing: The Pride of Genocide

The Act of Killing focuses on the 1965 genocide in Indonesia. The film’s introductory text states: “In 1965, the Indonesian government was overthrown by the military. Anybody opposed to the military dictatorship could be accused of being a ‘communist’—union members, landless farmers, intellectuals, and the A scene from Joshua Oppenheimer's Act of Killi</p> 
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The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

DEPreface: In 1973, I spent six weeks in a spiritual training program which included Patricia Ellsberg as a participant. My wife and I were invited to lunch with her and husband Daniel. Trapped in a narcissistic bubble, I paid little attention to the news about her husband, Daniel. He had made headlines—something about sneaking out confidential information about the Vietnam War, something ab

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Maidentrip: Around the World in Two Years

Laura Dekker was thirteen when she decided to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. Her father reluctantly agreed, but the dream odyssey was delayed when The Netherlands’ government did not agree. Said government spent ten months attempting and failing to wrest custody of Laura from her father. 3Dekker set out on her boat, ‘Guppy’, at the age of fourteen, took two yea

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Teenage Paparazzo: Shooting the Shooters

Adrian Grenier, the lead actor in HBO’s long-running Entourage series, discovers his life, inevitably, imitating his art. austin20visschedyk_xlargeOn his journey through celebrity-land Grenier has, inevitably again, become annoyed by and curious about the world of celebrity photographers – the ones with whom you don’t have an appoint

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The Tao of Blue Grass: A Portrait of Peter Rowan

Singer/songwriter, artist, story teller, world traveler, mystic. Having viewed Christine Funk’s The Tao of Bluegrass: A Portrait of Peter Rowan, I now add ‘legend’ to the above list. indexUtilizing interviews of Rowan and a large handful of his contemporaries, woven with clips of performances over the last five decades, Funk’s mosaic presents a soul of great beauty and countless

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The Age of Stupid

“It’s amazing,” the Archivist asks, “what state of mind were we in, to face extinction, and simply shrug it off?” He sits in a vast room, atop a tall tower—The Global Archive. It is 2055 AD. The Earth’s ecosphere has been decimated by global warming. Small bands of humans roam the planet. The Archive is humanity’s memory. aptallik-cagi-age-of-stupid ...Read More