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)
- JR. LEO AWARD (Jr. Leo Program)
- SPONSORS prize package / Swag

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 DIFF 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 Executive Director. Their reports are final and confidential. Long and short format films that are received by DIFF and given Official 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 with valid student ID may compete in DIFF's FREE-TO-ENTER Jr. Leo Awards program. High School, College, University, and Trade (Vocational) are eligible. ID's will be verified with institutions. Learn more at https://davincifilmfestival.com/junior-leo-program/
8. All entries must 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. DIFF Storyline (screenwriting) competition series are responsible for reviewing eligibility and rules at storyline.davincifilmfestival.com prior to submission.
12. DIFF requires DCP film file for live event screening.

Thank you and good luck!

Overall Rating
  • Carolyn Saul

    It was an honour to have “this bond i and Bondi” selected as one of only 4 short documentary films to screen in competition at DIFFDocs 2022. Big thanks to the DIFF team for this official selection. Although I live over 12,000kms away, fortunately, I was able to attend the Festival at the fabulous AMC cinema complex at The Grove in LA. I felt very welcomed by Chadwick, Holly and the friendly and dedicated DIFF team, who put together a great weekend of film screenings, as well as social events at the nearby Short Stories Hotel where we could network and meet other filmmakers. Hope to submit again in the near future!

    October 2022
  • Em Johnson

    Very happy to have been selected to show "Balloon Animal" at Davinci this year! As an alumnus, I was excited to return and loved my experience again. Great communication and very accommodating.

    October 2022
  • Lee Anthony Smith

    The DaVinci International Film Festival was a terrific experience. Chadwick and his team were amazing. They were very welcoming and helpful throughout the preparation and screening of the event. The venue was top notch as well. We screened our film at The Grove AMC in LA where the picture and sound presentation was superb. Also, the mixers and after parties were held in an elegant and warm environment, a great place to mingle and meet with other filmmakers. I’ve been to quite a few film festivals in my time, and I must say that this one was by far, one of my favorites.

    October 2022
  • Andrew Bystrom

    The DIFF was a fun and professional experience. They had great setup at the Grove/AMC Theater in Los Angeles. Friendly Staff! I even got some insightful comments on my film, “Too Good to be Forgotten”. Having drinks with the other filmmakers and staff after the Saturday screening personized this enjoyable event. In addition, my wife and I have been using the t-shirts and coffee mug from their free goody bag. They are a good reminder of the great time we had at DIFF!

    October 2022
  • The DaVinci International Film Festival was a very rewarding experience to my film screened at the AMC Theater in Hollywood. My film ended up winning Best Short Film! Chadwick and the whole team were so delightful to interact with and they are true film connoisseurs. The Davinci trophy was an added super bonus ! Looking forward to being apart of the festival in the future!

    October 2022