What's the DIFF?

It’s the DaVinci International Film Festival (DIFF), but also a question many ask as they browse through hundreds of festivals online — what makes DIFF a stand out from the others?

Well, it starts with our brand — our name.

The way we see it, Leonardo da Vinci was the epitome of the divergent and creative mind— a luminary—and so we aim to recognize much of the same at our premier, boutique film festival. Creatives who break boundaries and draw us into new worlds.

Like many festivals, we set out to honor the best in independent cinema from around the world and do so by taking into account the full scope of creative integration in any given project. From performances to color correction; score to sound design, our Jury is tasked with assessing each film based on an overall cohesiveness as it relates to storytelling. In addition, DIFF shines a very important light on screenwriting through our sister brand, STORYLINE℠ with annual competitions, as well as an all-new Jr. Leo event at DaVinci Film Institute, produced by the company's 501(c) 3 nonprofit.

DaVinci's founder and the Board of Directors are intimately familiar with and appreciate the full cycle of, independent filmmaking and the demands therein. From the perils of financing, through the distribution of any given work — the process is often complex and unforgiving. Most of these creative projects can take a short lifetime to complete and whether or not any given work is showcased at DIFF, we support and encourage all to keep pressing forward. Persistence is key to success in this business!


DIFF qualifies Vitruvian Selections™ (Official Selection) annually in narrative feature and short formats, documentary, animation, and screenwriting categories, who are invited to screen at DIFF's live showcase event held annually at AMC Theaters at The Grove in Los Angeles. Vitruvian Selections™ are in competition for the festival's Leo Award.

Projects will screen at our red carpet event for family, friends, and industry professionals, followed by filmmaker Q&A and a VIP After Party, where DIFF presents physical awards to the winners.

We understand you have many options in festivals, and we appreciate your interest in the DaVinci International Film Festival. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Experience the DIFF.

DaVinci International Film Festival

- LEO STATUE (Best of Fest: Narrative, Documentary, Animation, and Screenwriting*)
- SPONSORS prize package / Swag

* Although a distinction is made, U.S. and International categories are in-competition with one another (per category) for The Leo.

Entrants must fully comply with these Entry Rules & Regulations, including deadlines, film length, entry material(s), and accepting terms prior to submission, as well as those listed below. For STORYLINE (screenwriting) competition, please visit storyline.davincifilmfestival.com for a full list of rules and qualifications:

1. All non-English speaking films must be presented in their original version with English subtitles.
2. Short Film Entries should not exceed 40 minutes in duration including titles and credits.
3. Films previously entered into DIFF are not eligible for re-entry in subsequent years.
4. All submissions are screened and evaluated by the DIFF Preview and Selection Committee, appointed by the Festival Director. Their reports are final and confidential. Long and short format films that are received by DIFF and given Vitruvian Selection status, will be screened at our Live Event Showcase Event.
5. In the event of a film is withdrawn, DIFF will not refund or return any materials.
6. ONE ENTRY FEE PER CATEGORY. The same film can be entered into more and one category, but each category requires a separate entry fee. If the filmmaker chooses to enter more than one category with the same film, please add an incremental numerical addendum in brackets after the title; i.e. "Film Title" (1), "Film Title" (2), etc. as the system requires this differentiation in the case of multiple entries with the same title.
7. Student filmmakers are encouraged to apply but must present their valid Student ID in order to benefit from DIFF's student discount. Enrolled High School students are encouraged to apply through the DaVinci Film Institute.
8. All entries should be submitted via the FilmFreeway.com portal. Please DO NOT send us any material unless requested.
9. Unfortunately, we DO NOT accept works in progress at this time.
10. Unscripted entries must first accept DIFF submission Policy prior to entry. Please visit https://davincifilmfestival.com/release-form/ NO EXCEPTIONS. Once the Release Form is submitted, an email will be sent directly with a password to continue your submission.
11. STORYLINE (screenwriting) competition series are responsible for reviewing eligibility and rules at storyline.davincifilmfestival.com prior to submission.
13. DIFF requires DCP film file for live event screening.

Thank you and good luck!