It’s not every day that a D.C. copyright attorney appears in a well-received documentary. But for Eric Schwartz, a partner in the D.C. office of Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp, it makes perfect sense.
Schwartz is passionate about the movies, and has found a way to merge his legal work with his advocacy of film preservation.
The movie he appears in is called “These Amazing Shadows,” which during the past several months has been screened at a couple of theaters in Washington, including the West End Cinema and the Library of Congress.
The film has since made its way to public TV, and is set to air on Maryland Public Television on Jan. 1, at 10:30 p.m.
The film is about The National Film Registry, which is the group of films selected for preservation by the Library of Congress.
Schwartz began work on the issue in the late 1980s as an attorney with the U.S. Copyright Office. While there, he co-authored a paper on the colorization and alterations of films. Eventually, this work—bolstered by much political wrangling on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in Washington—helped to form the National Film Preservation Foundation, which receives private donations for its preservation work.
According to a recent Washington Post story, in its 14 years of existence, the foundation has helped preserve more than 1,800 films that had deteriorated in archives around the country, and abroad.
“Films are recordings of American history and culture,” Schwartz said in an interview. “Preserving them is important.”