Announcing the DEFA Film Library’s new 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).



- encourage and increase learning about East German cinema among broader and more diverse audiences, including at high schools, museums, and community-based organizations;

- position East German cinema in an international context;

- foster interdisciplinary and intersectional conversations.



US or international scholars/researchers, teachers and cultural programmers curating or organizing events with DEFA films.



Applicants should submit:


  • a short CV or resume,
  • a completed Project Description Form (see file below),
  • a letter endorsing the project from someone well-placed to evaluate its impact and the likelihood of its success, and
  • a working budget.


- An itemized budget should outline the entire project, including in-kind contributions and co-sponsorships. Such projects might require in-kind contributions from other sponsors that have been arranged, requested or planned (e.g., donation of a venue, institutional funds, free office space or copying, etc.).

- Examples for what the award money may be used for are: screening and space rental fees, transportation costs (e.g., for a speaker) and/or designing and printing publicity materials (posters, flyers, social media).

- It may NOT be used for honoraria, business meals or per diem compensation, refreshments, alcoholic beverages, receptions or lodging.

- The DEFA Film Library reserves the right to suggest the budget items that will be covered by the award.


Inquiries and applications should be directed to Mariana Ivanova (Academic Director, DFL). Committee members also include Victoria Rizo Lenshyn (Associate Director, DFL) and Hiltrud Schulz (Outreach and Production Manager, DFL).



  • The deadline for submissions for the 2024 award is April 1, 2024.
  • The recipient will be announced by May 1, 2024.
  • The award monies must be utilized by June 30, 2025.



  • All promotional materials must display the DEFA Film Library logo and mention the “DEFA Film Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst” as a sponsor or co-sponsor.
  • Within 60 days after the end of the event, recipients should submit a final report, including a final budget and copies of receipts and promotional materials.
  • In case the event/project is cancelled, all award money disbursed must be returned to the DEFA Film Library.



2023: The award will be inaugurated with a project honoring the victims and survivors of the 1973 coup in Chile, now marking its 50th anniversary. Like other East Germans, DEFA filmmakers stood in staunch opposition to the coup and made films about the drastic situation in Chile and among Chilean exiles in the GDR. In many cases, Chilean artists were directly involved in the creation of these films.


This first award goes to Dr. Claudia Sandberg (University of Melbourne) for her project, "Chile in East German Cinema,” which includes screenings with film introduction and Q&A, panel discussion + a master Ccass to take place in Santiago, Chile, in Nov. 2023.


Read more about the project in our next newsletter! In the meantime, visit our website for more information about the DEFA Chilean films.



Associated Films:

Associated People:

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