The archive was founded in 1986 by Liselotte Eder (Rainer Werner Fassbinder's mother) and was taken over in 1992 by Juliane Lorenz. It administers the director's estate, including large portions of the film rights and the rights to plays, adaptations, radio plays, scripts and song lyrics.
The foundations's website has information on Fassbinder's 45 films and recommended reading.
The foundation is also involved in the production of DVD versions of some films.
In 1992 the Fassbinder Foundation organised the first complete Fassbinder retrospective in Berlin. It was later presented in New York and other US cities.