The Founder's Fund

for Student Researchers

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 the end, we offer:

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


Graduate Student Essay Prize

The annual Graduate Student Essay Prize, created in 1921 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, 2022). The current deadline for submissions is August 15, 2023


Research Stipends

Inquiries and applications for Founder's Fund research stipends should be directed to Prof. Mariana Ivanova, the Academic 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. NB: 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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