The DEFA Foundation is a legal non-profit foundation under civil law. Since December 2017, the foundation has been based in the Neues Deutschland publishing house on Berlin's Franz-Mehring-Platz. The foundation was established on December 15, 1998 by the German government. The film inventory of Deutsche Film AG (DEFA), the state-owned film company of the GDR, was transferred to her as a foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to preserve the DEFA film heritage and to make the productions available to the public as part of the national cultural heritage. The foundation is continuously digitizing the DEFA film inventory so that the films can continue to be shown on television and in the cinema as well as released on DVD. The foundation also promotes German film art and film culture by awarding prizes. The Foundation has presented the award in Berlin once a year since 2001, at which people and institutions are honored for their cinematic achievements. As part of the Berlin International Film Festival, the foundation has been awarding the Heiner Carow Prize since 2013. The board has been the journalist, film historian and author Ralf Schenk since 2012. Filmmaker Katrin Schlösser has chaired the Board of Trustees since 2019. She took over from director Andreas Dresen.