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

MOTHERLOAD: In Praise of Cargo Bikes

There are two stories in Liz Canning’s MOTHERLOAD. The first is Canning’s own narrative about the personal experiences and social forces that brought her to the world of ‘cargo bikes’—bicycles that transport more than just the rider. The second story is about the emergence of cargo bikes as a global phenomenon. What is quick

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Catnip Nation

“There are about as many feral cats in the United States as there are pet cats. So that would put them anywhere from 70 to 90 million.” Kathleen O’Malley, Director of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) Education, NYC Feral Cat Initiative Tina Traster’s Catnip Nation addresses the fates of these millions of feral cats, and the human co

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Community First, A Home for the Homeless

Community First! Village is a 27 acre master plan community designed specifically to lift the chronically homeless off the streets of the Austin [Texas] area, into a place they can call home—heal from the ravages of living in the streets, rediscovering a purpose in their life, and then going out, and beginning

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For Sama

For Sama is director Waad al-Kateab’s five years of experience living through war in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Her documentary is ‘a love letter’ to her daughter, Sama, who was born into violence and chaos. Journalist al-Kateab filmed throughout the five years, and narrates the documentary. “Sama,” she voices in her love letter, “I’

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The 600: The Soldiers’ Story

“We are alive because God used them to rescue us. And they had the passion to that we would live again. That is the pleasure that we have, and we are thankful for that.” Survivor of Rwandan genocide. The ‘them’ in this grateful survivor’s statement is a battalion of 600 Rwandan soldiers who saved countless lives and were instrumental in ending the carnage. The soldiers were part of a movement to bring lasting peace to the nation. The military facet of this mo

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The Woman Who Loves Giraffes

“If you’re working on giraffes, she’s the pioneer, and wrote the textbook. Anne was the first person to go to Africa to study the behavior of a wild animal.” John Doherty, Queens University Belfast, Reticulated Giraffe Project Anne Innis Dagg defied convention. At the age of three Dagg was inspired when, on her first visit to Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo, she viewed her first giraffe. The toddler had already expressed much interest in this strange, beautiful, elegant beast before that portentous visit.

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Shattered Dreams: Sex Trafficking in America

“We’ve seen a trend—I would say within the last five, six, or seven years—where we’ve started to hear the word, ‘trafficking.’ What we thought were prostitutes are actually enslaved human beings who’ve been tricked, and been sold as objects." Tina Paulson, Association for the Recovery of Children Directed by Bill Wisneski, ...Read More

Violet Is Blue: A Tale of Gibbons and Guardians

Of the 20 gibbon species, 19 are endangered, critically endangered, or near extinction. Directed by Alex M. Azmi, Violet Is Blue introduces gibbons and the people of the Gibbon Conservation Center<

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Mission Wolf: Experiment in Living

“The day that we are successful is the day that we take those cages down, and watch wolves in the wild.” Kent Weber, Co-Founder and Executive Director Mission Wolf is a sanctuary in the remote Colorado mountains. The rescue cares for wolves, wolfdogs, and horses. The film's primary focus is the people working there at the time of production. Director Gayle Nosal eschews narration and allows the people running Mission Wolf tell their stories. The volunteers

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Blue Heart: The Fight for Europe’s Last Wild Rivers

Directed by Britton Caillouette, Blue Heart is a simple, straight forward documentary about people fighting for their land, for their natural world which is threatene

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