Byg is the founding director of the DEFA Film Library and Professor Emeritus of German and Film Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His work has fostered transatlantic recognition and scholarly understanding of filmmaking in the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

Barton Byg, photo by Hiltrud Schulz

For the second annual Ulfers Foundation Award Ceremony, NYU’s Department of German—with support from Deutsches Haus at NYU—proudly presents the 2019 award to noted film scholar and curator Barton Byg. 

Byg founded the DEFA Film Library in 1993. To date, it remains the only archive and research center outside of Germany devoted to a broad spectrum of filmmaking from and related to the former GDR.

The ceremony will be held at Deutsches Haus at NYU on September 24 at 5:30 p.m.

The evening will also feature a screening of Jürgen Böttcher’s short film “Shunters,” with a conversation between Byg and Thomas Elsaesser, Professor Emeritus at the University of Amsterdam, to follow. They will discuss their respective experiences with and perspectives on German film and the GDR.

Additional remarks will be made by:
Georgina Dopico (Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs and for the Humanities, NYU)
Elisabeth Strowick (Chair, Department of German, NYU)
Friedrich Ulfers (Associate Professor of German, NYU)
Juliane Camfield (Director, Deutsches Haus at NYU)

The ceremony will take place at Deutsches Haus at NYU, 42 Washington Mews (between University Place and Fifth Avenue), and is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP. For more information, call 212.998.8750 or visit Deutsches Haus’ website. [Subways: R, W (8th Street); 6 (Astor Place); A, B, C, D, E, F, M (West 4th Street).]

About Barton Byg:
Barton Byg is Professor Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He retired in 2018 as Professor in German and Scandinavian Studies, associate faculty in Comparative Literature and Communication, and a founding faculty member of the Interdepartmental Program in Film Studies. His principal areas of research and teaching include the work of filmmakers Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, GDR cinema and culture, Brecht and cinema, documentary, culture of the Cold War, memory culture, landscape and film, color and film. As Founding Director of The DEFA Film Library at UMass Amherst, the only archive and study center outside Europe devoted to the cinema of the German Democratic Republic and related subjects, Byg was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in April, 2017. 

The Ulfers Foundation Award:
The Ulfers Foundation Award was established by Friedrich Ulfers, Associate Professor of German at NYU, and presented by the New York University Department of German in recognition of an individual whose achievements have served to promote and highlight German culture and history. This award is endowed with a $5,000 grant. This is the second time the award is being presented. In 2018 the Ulfers Foundation Award was given to Margarethe von Trotta. The Ulfers Foundation Award Ceremony is a DAAD-sponsored event.

Barton Byg will donate the 2019 Ulfers Foundation Award grant to the DEFA Film Library Endowment at UMass Amherst.

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