The Founder's Fund

for Young Researchers and Curators

The Founder’s Fund was established in 2018, in honor of the DEFA Film Library’s founding director, Professor Emeritus Barton Byg. Its purpose is to help support research into East German cinema on the part of student scholars. To this end, we offer:

  • Programming Award
  • Graduate Student Essay Prize, and
  • Two types of Research Stipends.


Programming Award

The DEFA Film Library is launching a Programming Award in celebration of its 30th anniversary in 2023. This award of up to $1,000 will be offered annually for three years (2023-2025). US or international scholars/researchers, teachers and cultural programmers who would like to curate or co-organize cultural and/or educational events with DEFA films. The deadline for submissions for the 2024 award is April 1, 2024


Graduate Student Essay Prize

The annual Graduate Student Essay Prize, created in 2021 in commemoration of the 75th-anniversary of the founding of the DEFA Film Studios, is awarded for the best graduate student paper on East German films and their production. 

The prize is accompanied by a $500 cash award. The competition is open to US and international graduate students, including recent graduates (since Jan. 1, 2023). The current deadline for submissions is September 1, 2024


Research Stipends

For inquiries and application to the Founder's Fund, please email Dr. Mariana Ivanova (Academic Director) and Dr. Victoria Rizo Lenshyn (Associate Director of the DEFA Film Library).


1) Film Rentals: Graduate, undergraduate and high-school students are invited to apply for a stipend to cover film rentals to conduct research for their papers and projects. Please see the application guidelines:


2) Research Visit: Graduate students may also apply for a stipend to help cover costs associated with a research visit to the DEFA Film Library. If you wish to schedule a visit to the DEFA Film Library, please get in touch as early as possible in your planning process and include “FOUNDER’S FUND” in the subject line of all emails. Application guidelines:




Associated Films:

Associated People:

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