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

My Year of Living Mindfully

“When I started my experiment to see what would happen to my mental well being if I meditated every day for a year, I didn’t plan to end up in the middle east, a region which is the front line of a global humanitarian crisis, in the heart of so much suffering.” Shannon Harvey My Year of Living Mindfully<

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The Booksellers

“People don’t have the patience to go look at a shelf of books like that. The average buyer wants to buy a particular book. I mean it takes a certain kind of interest in books to begin with to even arrive at the stage at which you want to be surprised by something that you want to find that you aren’t looking for.” Interviewee Although the title of this masterfully produced documentary film indicates that it is about those who sell books—in

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Netflix vs. The World: The Battle of the Streamers

“When you’re starting a new company, you labor in obscurity for what feels like years. You tell your friends what you’re working on, and they kind of glaze over. They don’t understand, no one recognizes the name. And you wonder, ‘who am I doing this for?’” Marc Randolph, Netflix Co-founder and Former CEO Netflix vs. The

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Mr Toilet: The World’s #2 Man

“It is not right that 2.5 billion people in the world still do not have access to proper sanitation—when we can send spacecraft to land on Mars.” Jack Sim Mr Toilet: The World’s #2 Man is a profile of toilet and sanitation crusader Jack Sim who wants to rid the world of open-air urination and defecation, and to p

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From Seed to Seed: A Year in the Life of a Family Farm

“Overall, I would rather characterize farming as a constant play between hope and despair. And in the despair, we have to be able to step away for a minute and see that it has shown you something that can give you hope.” Terry Mierau Opera singers Monique Scholte and Terry Mierau met in Amsterdam. They coupled virtually immediately. Somehow, they ended up in Canada, as farmers. Terry, Monique and their three children live in a house barn in the traditi

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Documentary Filmmakers Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto Re-release of ‘Thousand Pieces of Gold’

Congratulations to Marin County documentary filmmakers Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto on Kino Lorber's re-release of their very underrated narrative film Thousand Pieces of Gold Yours truly fondly remembers viewing the film's original release at the Sequoia Theater, in Mill Valley, California—in 1990! I am thoroughly delighted to learn that 'Thousand Pieces of Gold' is available again. ...Read More

Genesis 2.0: Humanity’s New Beginning

Producer/director/editor Christian Frie, and co-director/cinematographer Maxim Arbugaev have given our world a masterpiece of documentary filmmaking. Genesis 2.0 introduces three stories. 1) Groups of men who scour the remote, uninhabited New Siberian Islands for wooly mammoth (mammuthus primigenius) tusks for commercial

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Grass Is Greener: A Crucial Documentary About Cannabis in the United States

Yours truly has viewed at least five documentaries about cannabis. Grass Is Greener is the most important film I have seen on this subject. The film’s significance is grounded in its coverage of the African American experience of cannabis. Directed and narrated by accomplished actor/director, Fred Brathwaite (aka Fab 5 Freddy), Grass Is Greener provides the socio-political-cultural history of cannabis. That hist

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The Raft: 11 People, 101 Days

The Raft is a documentary film about one man’s folly of an ocean odyssey, and the unanticipated results of same. Mexican social anthropologist Santiago Genovés designed an ‘experiment’ to address—and forgive me for being inarticulate here—something about humans, peace, and violence. On May 11, 1973, Geno

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An Elephant in the Room: The Healing Work of ‘Good Grief’

Directed by Katrine Philp, An Elephant in the Room highlights the work of Good Grief—an organization that provides support to children who have lost parents or siblings. The film has no narration. Instead we are with the children, their facilitators, and the childrens’ remaining fami

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