Das DFF wurde 1949 gegründet und ist damit das älteste filmwissenschaftliche Institut der Bundesrepublik. Seit 2006 führt das Institut auch das Deutsche Filmmuseum, das mit seinem Kino- und Ausstellungsbetrieb zu den bundesweit bedeutenden Kultureinrichtungen zählt.
— The DFF is a non-profit association, founded in 1949 and based in Frankfurt. The DFF is in charge of the administration and IT departments, the film archive, collections/library and the Museum, including its cinema. In addition, it organises, as annual projects, LUCAS, the International Children’s Film Festival, and goEast – the festival of Central and Eastern European cinema. Among the important projects of the DFF is filmportal.de, the central Internet platform, which provides reliable information about all German cinema films. The Museum, incorporated into the DFF with its collections, archives, scholarly projects and its library, offers visitors an exceptional venue for intensive engagement with the moving image. The origins, progress and future of film are the subjects of the permanent exhibition, beginning even before the „invention“ of the cinema in 1895 and tracing its subsequent development.