NEW Prize for Best Graduate Student Essay on East German Cinema

Mariana Ivanova Discussion

This annual prize, created in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the DEFA Film Studios, will be awarded for the best graduate student paper on East German cinema submitted for consideration. The prize is accompanied by a cash award of $500 from the Founder’s Fund for Student Researchers, which was established in honor of the DEFA Film Library’s founding director, UMass Professor Emeritus Barton Byg, to help support research into East German cinema. 


US or international graduate students, including recent graduates (since January 1, 2020).

Submissions & Format:

The winning scholarly essay will demonstrate original and critical analysis, clarity of argument and exposition and engagement with varied source materials.

Students may submit their own paper, or they may be nominated by an advisor or professor, with the author’s consent. In either case, the submitter should provide an accompanying cover letter, as well as a short author’s CV.  

Papers may be submitted in either English or German and may not have been published by the time of submission. The manuscript should be 7,000-8,000 words in length (double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt), including footnotes/endnotes but excluding bibliography.

2021 Deadline: The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2021. 

Papers should be submitted to the Committee Chair, Mariana Ivanova ( The other committee members are Skyler Arndt-Briggs (UMass Amherst) and Victoria Rizo Lenshyn (Amherst College).

Award Celebration & Certificate:

The author of the winning paper will be contacted on September 26, 2021, and the award will be celebrated at the German Studies Association conference soon thereafter. The essay and recipient will be highlighted in the DEFA Film Library newsletter and website, and the committee will also provide feedback on the essay.