_____ Practice Areas
Media (film, tv, music, photography, art)
Technology (software, open source)
_____ Education
Yale Law School, Columbia University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa)
_____ Teaching
Adjunct Professor, University of Michigan Law School
_____ Clerkship
The Hon. Mariana R. Pfaelzer, Central District of California
_____ Contact
paul [at] filmlawgroup.com, +1 415 663 5153
"Film Production: Legal Essentials", my workshop for producers, will be at SXSW in 2023. If you'll be there, please say hi!
_____ Paul Szynol (/ˈSHinôl/)
In the last two decades, I've worked extensively with filmmakers, artists, tech start ups, and tech multinationals. I specialize in media (especially film, tv, music, photography, and art) and tech (especially software and open source). I'm particularly interested in fair use and free speech.
I teach Film Law at the University of Michigan. I've written for the Atlantic about fair use, and I've appeared on CBS News Prime Time to discuss the doctrine's importance.
I'm also a filmmaker and photographer. I've filmed in the US, Uganda, Poland, and England, and my documentaries have been featured on the New York Times (Op-Docs), the Atlantic, and the New Yorker, and have been shown at festivals internationally, including AFI Docs, Big Sky, Clermont-Ferrand, Doc NYC, Palm Springs, Slamdance, and Toronto Int’l Film Festival (Kids). My short doc "A Peaceful Place" was a Tribeca If/Then finalist. Some of my photos have been exhibited in the US and Europe, including ICP in New York City and the Leica Gallery in Warsaw. In addition to shooting my own films, I also sometimes work as a cinematographer for other projects (e.g., Nanfu Wang's In the Same Breath) and occasionally help with production (e.g., Susan Sandler's Julia Scotti: Funny That Way).
A more personal bio: I was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to NYC at the age of 12, the year that the city’s transit fare rose from 75 cents to 90 cents; 33 previously unknown Bach pieces were found in an academic library; and Canon demoed its first digital still camera. Besides New York City and Warsaw, I’ve lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Ann Arbor, Alexandria (VA), New Haven, Philadelphia, NJ, DC, and, for shorter periods, Kampala and Berlin. I’ve driven across the US six seven times, and I’ve visited the vast majority of the contiguous states, and, by train, plane or automobile, I’ve also visited some 45 50 55 60 countries. I like stray all dogs, old jazz LPs and old trains, Greene and Kundera, open source software, the Oxford comma, and occasionally translating Polish poetry to English. In the past, I played loud drums with loud bands in a bunch of loud places, including CBGBs. I also started coding in 7th grade, and I'm still a huge nerd an occasional software developer (mostly Python and Java). My personal website is at Itchy Dog Films.
_____ Publications
The Andy Warhol Case That Could Wreck American Art (The Atlantic)
_____ Media Appearances
CBS News Prime Time, KCRW
_____ Legal Panels/Lectures
American Documentary Film Festival, Brooklyn Documentary Club, Brooklyn Film Festival Exchange, Camden International Film Festival, Doc NYC, Documentary Association of Europe, Filmshop, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, New School, NYU Tisch, Palm Springs International ShortFest Forum, Tribeca Film Institute, UCLA, Video Consortium
_____ Films (Director, Cinematographer, Editor, and Producer)
Sometimes Surface (Aeon)
A man, a dog, and a handful of records.
The Pull (New York Times)
After serving time in a New Hampshire jail, a freed inmate faces the pull of addiction.
Quiet Hours (Atlantic)
Donald Hall, America’s Poet Laureate and winner of the National Medal of Arts, lives in the fragile space between loneliness and solitude.
Not a Woman (Atlantic)
A Ugandan couple struggle to get pregnant and save their marriage.
Booklyn (New Yorker)
A short documentary about a quirky Brooklyn bookstore that has been an enigmatic but beloved neighborhood fixture for the last three decades.
I Want Everything (Rolling Stone)
After a lifetime of writing about famous rock stars, Larry “Ratso” Sloman releases his own album and records a tribute to Nick Cave’s son.
Small Talk (Vimeo Staff Pick)
A handful of inmates weather the slow passage of time with candid reflections on drug addiction.
_____ Festival Programmer
Slamdance Film Festival (Doc Features and Narrative Shorts)