DEFA stands for Deutsche Film Aktiengesellschaft, the state-run East German film studios, where films were made from 1946 to 1990.
German Minister of State for Culture and Media Bernd Neumann, in a recent letter to UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, praised the Film Library’s work as an “outstanding contribution to presenting Germany’s cultural heritage,” as well as “an inspiration in overcoming prejudice and developing new ways to approach the cinema and history of former East Germany.”
DEFA founder Barton Byg said that the library has worked for two decades to broaden popular and scholarly understanding of filmmaking in the GDR by critically exploring its aesthetic, political and ideological bases.
“Since the beginning, such ideas have formed all our outreach and research projects,” he said. DEFA executive director Skyler Arndt-Briggs added, “We’re thrilled at the enthusiasm and interest in [East] German cinema that the library has helped generate so far and we look forward to an exciting third decade.”