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

The Reluctant Radical: Fighting for All of Our Lives

In my old age I’ve become a reductionist—reducing various and sundry matters to their essence. In the matter of our Earth’s environment, I make the analogy of a chess board. Us humans are the players—the board, our environment which supports the play. Us players are rapidly destroying our board. I reduce my emotional response to this destruction to one of pure pain. In Lindsey Grayzel’s ...Read More

Quincy: The Life and Times of…

You go to the IMDB site for Alan Hicks’ and Rashida Jones’ Quincy and count the number of celebrities who appear in this documentary about the legendary Quincy Jones, and you will find at least 76 people who, like yours truly, are in awe of the talent and accomplishments of this iconic showbiz survivor. ...Read More

A Leaf of Faith: Kill the Pain, Not the Patient

Directed by Chris Bell and David Baca, Jr., A Leaf of Faith explores the legal issues of, and personal use of ‘Kratom’—also known as Mitragyna speciosa, a tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Various and sundry concoctions are made from the plant’s leaves, and are consumed for recreational and medicina

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Forgotten Plague: M.E. and the Future of Medicine

“There’s not nearly enough press coverage. There’s not nearly enough attention paid to this illness—for when you consider the degree of suffering that people are going through, for the degree of disability, the degree of cost to society, for all of us who aren’t able to work, aren’t able to be contributing members that we were when we were healthy. It’s as though we’ve disappeared—we’ve just dropped out of society and then were forgotten.”

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A Song for You: The Austin City Limits Story

Keith Maitland’s A Song for You: The Austin City Limits Story does just what the title indicates—tells the story of the legendary television show up until his documentary’s 2016 release. The film’s de facto host is  ...Read More

Paying the Price for Peace: The Story of S. Brian Willson

“The United States has been at war under every President since 1941. However, since the end of World War II, US Presidents have authorized illegal and unconstitutional wars of aggression. According to the US Constitution, only Congress can declare war. But, Presidents have consistently found ways to wage war without Congressional approval. Between 1950 and 2000, the US government has overthrown 60 democratically elected governments, dropped bombs on ov

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Hello, I Am David!: A Journey with David Helfgott

In 1996, writer/director Scott Hicks gave us “Shine” about the storied Australian concert pianist David Helfgott, portrayed by Geoffrey Rush. In 2015, Cosima Lange gave us, Hello, I Am David!—a documentary about Mr. Helfgott who continues touring to this day. For those unfamiliar: Helfgott was on a fast-track to concert stardom w

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The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

“Relations between police and Negroes across the country are getting worse. One of the cities most troubled by animosity between police and Negroes is Oakland, California.” 1960s black-and-white network news report Donald J. Trump and his Republican cohorts have ripped off the thin, translucent scab that covers America’s congenital racism. Although Stanley Nelson’s ...Read More

Beyond the Fear of Singing: Unlock Your Voice. Release Your Song.

“Most children learn very, very quickly that they don’t have that kind of sound. They don’t have that kind of voice to compare with that. Most children just stop at some point. There’s also a sort of a ritual that happens at some time where in the school, or at home, the children are put in front of a crowd of people—their school mates, their family—where they’re asked or forced to sing a song. For many, many children—but also adults—this is like

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The Bleeding Edge: Injury and Death Caused by Medical Devices

iatrogenic: (adjective of a medical disorder) illness, injury or death caused by the diagnosis, manner, or treatment of a physician In The Bleeding Edge well-lauded director Kirby Dick focuses on the harm that has been done, and is being done on patients who are treated with medical devices—a $400 billion industry. The injuries are life

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