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

Tribal Justice: An Innovative Approach to Justice for Native Americans

Yours truly brings a bias to the understanding and reviewing of Anne Makepeace’s Tribal Justice. That bias is one of being a champion of ‘restorative justice’—a compassionate approach to just

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The Cinema Travellers: Life with an Indian Traveling Movie Theatre

Mohammed runs a travelling movie theater in India. Prakash repairs 35mm film projectors—and has designed and built one of his own. These are the two principals in Shirley Abraham’s and Amit Madheshiya’s The Cinema Travellers. The two filmmakers hang out with Prakash, and follow Mohammed’s theatre around India. They do not p

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Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

Written and directed by Alexandra Dean, Bombshell is a straight-forward cinematic biography of Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler, also known as Hedy Lamarr. Although there are several biographies about Lamarr, her life has not been covered in documentary form. There is an inciting incident in the production of this film—the one

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Lives Well Lived: Celebrating the Secrets, Wit, and Wisdom of Age

There are certain filmed stories that will stay with us the rest of our lives. First time feature film director Sky Bergman’s Lives Well Lived is one of them. Bergman interviews 40 people between the ages of 75 and 100. Each tells her or his story. Between some interviews are interstitials in which a few interviewees respond to ques

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Wild Wild Country: Love and Hate in the State of Oregon

“She is drugged,” the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh states emphatically, “she is on hard drugs. I have never made love to her, that much is certain. Perhaps that is the jealousy. She always wanted... (pauses) but I have made it a point never make love with a secretary.” (His large group of followers laugh loudly.) “Love affair never ends. It can turn into a hate affair. She did not prove to be a woman. She proved to be a perfect bitch.” (More laughter.) She

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$our Grapes: Stories of the Elegant Hustle

Directed by Reuben Atlas and Jerry Rothwell, $our Grapes tells the story of a massive heist in the American wine industry—the sale, at auctions, of phony rare bottles of wines. The perpetrator was Rudy Kurniawan, a charming young man of Chinese descent, based in Indonesia, and living in the United States. Early in the film we lear

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Arthur Miller: Writer

When asked what he would like his obituary to say about him, Arthur Miller responded with just one word, ‘writer.’ Hence, the documentary’s one-word subtitle. In Arthur Miller: Writer, accomplished writer/actor/director, and Miller’s daughter Rebecca Miller tells her father’s story—in a too-short 90 minutes

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Take Your Pills: For the Love of Addy

$13 Billion Annually That’s the upside to the marketing and sales of prescription performance enhancing drugs. Alison Klayman’s Take Your Pills is an exploration of what we get for our money. The primary focus is on Adderall and, secondarily, on Ritalin—as used by people who do not have ADHD

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Notes from the Field: The School-to-Prison Pipeline

Anna Deavere Smith interviewed more than 250 people to write and perform her epic one-woman play, Notes from the Field. Smith culled through this 300 hours of interviews, choose 19 interviewees, selected interview segments of each, and performed them as the interviewee. She began work on this project in 2012, perform

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Speed and Angels: The Adventures of Meagan and Jay

When Jay Consalvi went home from the hospital—at two days of age—his father took the infant flying for 20 minutes before going home. By the time he was five Jay wanted to fly, and by 11, he wanted to be a Navy fighter pilot—although he didn’t know what a fighter pilot does. Meagan Varley wanted to fly Navy jets since the age of 12

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