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

Havana, From On High

Directed by Pedro Ruiz, Havana, From On High is a cinematic, poetic, and unofficial sociological study of Cuba in transition. Eleven Cubans are interviewed and followed speaking about their lives as well as their thoughts about Cuba with references to the Revolution, Fidel, Che, the United States, and, of

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The Dog Doc: Integrative Medicine for Dogs and Cats

Cindy Meehl’s The Dog Doc is both a profile of integrative medicine veterinarian Marty Goldstein and an affirmation of the healing power integrative medicine provides—to both human and non-human animals. When Goldstein entered veterinary practice he was well educated and skilled, yet he was in chronic poor health. He found his way to

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Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story

Barefoot: The Mark Baumer Story is a profile of, a eulogy to, and an homage to, of course, Mark Baumer (December 19, 1983 – January 21, 2017). Our hero was a prolific writer and poet, and a passionate environmental activist. Mark died while walking along a roadside. Attempting to walk barefoot from the east coa

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Dawnland: Rare Truth and Reconciliation in the United States

“I remember, they took us to Old Town, there’s a great big house. There were other state foster kids there, and they left us there. I remember we all slept in one big room. We had bunk beds. If you wet the bed, you had to stay in that bed for 24 hours, and you couldn’t get up. If you had to pee, you had to pee in the bed. If you stole food, you couldn’t eat for 24 hours. (crying) I never cried, I never cried. “I think it was only one time we told t

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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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