What's the DIFF?

… It’s the DaVinci International Film Festival (DIFF), but also a question most independent filmmakers ask as they browse and filter through dozens, if not hundreds of film festivals online — what makes DIFF stand out from the others?

As for our brand, the way we see it, is that 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 festival.

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 its sister-brand, STORYLINE℠ with quarterly and annual competitions. Learn more at: storyline.davincifilmfestival.com.

DIFF founders are intimately familiar with, and appreciate the full cycle of, independent filmmaking and the demands therein. From 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 your work is showcased at DIFF, we want to encourage you to keep pressing forward.

Another standout at DIFF is the DaVinci Film Institute. A non-profit division of the festival that offers a student grant for one qualified filmmaker. DIFF is committed to donating a portion of entry proceeds (per quarter) toward the film program. Learn more about the Institute and apply at: davincifilminstitute.org.


DIFF hosts a QUARTERLY online festival series for all of our categories. Winners of the “Vitruvian Award” will be invited to our Live Showcase Event at the end of the calendar year in Los Angeles, where they will compete against other quarterly winners for their shot at our most prized commendation, The Leo. Learn more about our format here: https://davincifilmfestival.com/festival-format/

Films will screen at our red carpet event at the Laemmle Theater in Santa Monica for family, friends, and industry professionals, followed by filmmaker Q&A and After Party, where our sponsors will present awards to our winners.

We understand that 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. Good luck!

DaVinci Film Festival

- THE LEO (Feature, Short, Documentary, Screenplay)
- VITRUVIAN AWARD (Quarterly Feature Narrative, Short Narrative, Screenplay)
- DIFF CERTIFICATE & WINNERS LAUREL (Quarterly category winners)
- SPONSOR prize package

You must fully comply with these Entry Rules & Regulations, including all deadlines, film length, entry material(s), and accepting terms (unscripted) prior to submission, as well as these listed below. For STORYLINE (Screenplay) 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. Film 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 win the Vitruvian Award, 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 require an entry fee. If the filmmaker choose 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 our student discount.
8. All entries should be submitted via 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 (Screenplay) competition series must review eligibility and rules at: storyline.davincifilmfestival.com prior to submission.

Overall Rating
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    Jarek Marszewski

    DaVinci Film Festival is absolutely worth checking out and being a part of. The staff are very communicative and professional. It is a real prestige to have become a part of the community of the festival. Thank you very much for your creative approach and sensitivity, thanks for letting me be a part of DaVinci!

    February 2018
  • The heart of DaVinci lies in their honest and professional communication. It is one of those up-and-coming film festivals where you as a submitter can be grateful for their goal in wishing to seek out undiscovered talent.

    November 2017
  • Great Festival! Really great communication! Recommend!

    November 2017
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    Martin Brighty

    We were absolutely overjoyed to be included in what is a very professional, well organised, quality level festival. Thank you all very much and especially for the communication and opportunities being selected has provided us with. Good luck with all your future festivals.

    November 2017
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    Scott O'Hara

    The DaVinci Film Festival might be in its first year, but the quality and professionalism rivals that of established, big name fests. I look forward to submitting more work in the future and being a part of this growing showcase for filmmakers!

    August 2017