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

Who Will Write Our History: The Papers that Rose from the Dead

“You’re cut off from the whole world. You can’t go to school. You can’t make a living. So, writing becomes the only recourse to feel a sense of ownership of one’s self.” Interviewee Within a two-week period I have received, viewed, and now reviewed two documentary films on the Holocaust in Poland. Having seen and learned from both films, I understand why. The pre-Holocaust population of Polish Jews was 3 million, the largest Jewish comm

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Decoding the Driftless: Protecting A Unique American Region

‘Drift’ is a geological term for soil and rocks transported and deposited by glaciers. For a variety of reasons articulated in Jonas Stenstrom’s Decoding the Driftless there is a region in the upper mid-west United States that escaped being overrun by ice during the last ice age. The ice ‘drift’ f

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Sickboy: Confronting Disease

“Until that expiring day comes, I’m not going to stop. Not until we make more people realize that laughing at a disease takes away its power. If you really sit, and actually think about that, it can have some pretty profound effects on how the way you live your life.” Jeremie Saunders Jeremie Saunders has cystic fibrosis, a terminal disease. He is living way beyond his predicted 'expiring day.' Together with friends Brian Stever, and Taylor MacGillivary, Saunders

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Chasing Portraits: A Heritage Lost and Found

The portraits being chased are those of Polish Holocaust victim Moshe Rynecki who painted approximately 800 images of Jewish life in Poland. The chaser is his great granddaughter Elizabeth Rynecki who has the largest collection of Rynecki’s work in the world, and is the producer/director/narrator of Chasing Portraits. Three million Jews live

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The Last Animals

Kate Brooks’ The Last Animals is about the killing of elephants and rhinoceroses. Her expertly produced documentary covers the killers, those fighting and dying in the field to stop the killing, those bringing the killers to justice, activists around the world working to stop the slaughter, and working to bring species back vi

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Ten years in the making, Modified is veteran filmmaker Aube Giroux’s inspiring, infuriating plea for the United States and Canada to start labeling food products containing genetically modified ingredients. The film tore up the festival circuit with at least ten wins, and was selected by at least twelve other festivals. Giroux tells her personal story of an idy

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The River and the Wall: An Odyssey Along the Rio Grande

“I’ve been river-guiding here on the Rio Grande for the past six years. I want people to know what’s out here. I want the love to be shared. This is wilderness as wild as it gets.” Austin Alvarado   Ben Masters’ The River and the Wall is a simple, elegant, well-produced film about the insane wall th

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Echo in the Canyon: Laurel Canyon in the Sixties

  “Music happens in a particular moment in time, and it changes everything going forward.” Jackson Browne Boy, if there was ever a documentary that screams the showbiz adage ‘leave them wanting more’ it is the utterly delightful Echo in the Canyon. The film is about a time—the 1960s; a place—southern Cali

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HAL: Legendary Filmmaker Hal Ashby

  Being There / Bound for Glory / Coming Home / Harold and Maude / Shampoo / The Landlord / The Last Detail   The 1970s were knighted with the descriptor ‘A G

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The Spy Who Fell to Earth

“The truth, it’s in the eye of the beholder.” Dr. Ahron Bregman It is the 1970s. Amongst other activities, Egyptian businessman Ashraf Marwan is a spy. He has approached Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, and provides Egyptian intelligence. Marwan is a double agent. It appears that Tom Meadmore’s The Spy Who Fell to Ear

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