The DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, founded by Professor Barton Byg in 1993, is the only archive and research center outside of Germany devoted to a broad spectrum of filmmaking from and related to the former GDR. It houses an extensive collection of 35- and 16mm prints, DVDs, books, periodicals and articles. Students are involved in all aspects of the Library’s research, outreach and teaching activities and also gain valuable experience in subtitling and library, conference and arts management.

The DEFA Film Library makes films available to a wide public in the USA and Canada through: touring film series; the rental of 35- and 16mm films from our collection, in cooperation with a wide range of partners; and the production and distribution of films on DVD with English subtitles and extensive bonus materials by experts in the field.

The DEFA Film Library supports an international network of researchers with a range of regular programming—such as biennial Summer Film Institutes and Filmmaker’s Tours, and workshops and panel discussions at major conferences in the US and Europe—that helps shape national and international research agendas on [East] German cinema during the global Cold War and on related films from Germany and elsewhere.

DEFA Film Library titles have screened at prestigious venues throughout North America, including: The Museum of Modern Art, Anthology Film Achives and Lincoln Center in New York; Harvard Film Archive and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; the American Film Institute and National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.; LACMA and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Toronto International Film Festival; and the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus Ohio.

Visiting artists and scholars have included: Directors Frank Beyer, Jürgen Böttcher, Andreas Dresen, Jörg Foth, Egon Günther, Iris Gusner, Thomas Heise, Dietmar Hochmuth, Günter Jordan, Peter Kahane, Siegfried Kühn, Helke Misselwitz, Bernd Sahling, Evelyn Schmidt, Rainer Simon, Andreas Voigt, Lothar Warneke; Scriptwriters Wolfgang Kohlhaase, Stefan Kolditz, Helga Schubert; Composer Stefan Carow; Film historians and scholars Seán Allan, Christine Becker, Lothar Bisky, Benita Blessing, Oksana Bulgakova, Thomas Elsaesser, Thomas Fox, Sabine Hake, Dina Iordanova, Konrad Jarausch, Lars Karl, Heinz Kersten, Thomas Lindenberger, Claus Löser, Hanno Löwy, Larson Powell, Eric Rentschler, Ralf Schenk, Elke Schieber, Ursula Schröter, David Shneer, Frank Stern, Katie Trumpener and others.

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