What's the DIFF?

Have you ever scrolled through film festivals, wondering, "What makes this one different?" That's a great question, and at DIFF (DaVinci International Film Festival), we believe it all starts with our name.

Leonardo da Vinci embodied a brilliantly innovative spirit, and that's exactly what we aim to celebrate at DIFF. We're a boutique festival seeking out independent filmmakers who push boundaries and captivate audiences with fresh storytelling.

Here's what sets us apart:

Intimacy Meets Impact. We may be fresh on the scene, but we bring big impact. Our meticulously chosen Official Selections screen alongside other exceptional works at the legendary Grove in Los Angeles. Our focus on exclusivity allows us to connect with filmmakers and screenwriters on a personal level, ensuring a supportive and enriching experience throughout their creative journey.

Visionary Guidance: Leading with Passion. DaVinci's leadership is a powerhouse. Emmy winners, a BAFTA recipient, a Sundance co-founder, and award-winning WGA, DGA, and SAG professionals bring their passion and expertise to the table. Driven by excellence, they're dedicated to fostering connections with new filmmakers and writers.

Leo Legacy: Celebrate Every Vision. Our Leo Awards honor excellence in narrative, documentary, animation, and screenwriting. Plus, we're spotlighting future storytellers with the free Junior Leo® Awards for students and DIFF's innovative GENIUS category for ultra-short films. Share your voice and join the DIFF family!

The Leo Award: A Symbol of Cinematic Achievement, Just like the meticulous care we put into curating films and crafting our brand, the Leo Award embodies excellence. This custom-designed, 5-pound museum-grade bust of Leonardo da Vinci is a unique trophy presented to the Best of Fest winners in our signature categories. In 2024, at DIFF's 6th Edition, a special Leo Award was bestowed upon Michel J. Fox for our inaugural Visionary Award. The Leo Award is more than a statue; it's a recognition of exceptional filmmaking and the hard work behind it.

Leo Winner's Package: Amplified Recognition (New in 2024!). Winning a Leo goes beyond the stunning bust statue. In 2024, we've upped the ante! Our Leo winners now receive:

- L.A. Billboard Exposure: Showcase your poster with a million+ impressions per month
- Streamer Distribution Control: Monetize your content with a distribution deal on a major platform.
- Second Theater Screening: Expand your audience with an additional screening opportunity.

And More! We're constantly adding exciting benefits for our winners.

Experience the DIFF:

Official Selections: Every year, we handpick the finest independent films (narrative features & shorts, documentaries, animation, and screenplays) who compete for our Leo Award at the iconic AMC Theatres at The Grove in Los Angeles.

Mastermind Panels: Gain insights from industry titans at DIFF's exclusive events. Past panels featured FilmBC, FilmAsia, The Creativity Conference (Making Your First Feature), and The Writers' Corner.

Unforgettable Recognition: Selected films compete for the coveted Leo Award, Audience Award (GENIUS category), and the brand-new Jr. Leo Award. Celebrate with an in-theater red-carpet ceremony and glamorous after-party.

Your Creative Home: DIFF is a supportive community. We understand you have options, and we're thrilled you're considering us. Let's collaborate and elevate your cinematic journey!

- JR. LEO AWARD (Jr. Leo Program)

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 storylinefilmfestival.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.

Overall Rating
  • Honored to have received Semi-finalist status for the Script - Journal of My Other Self! Of all the festivals I've entered I was most pleased to achieve some recognition from DIFF. Thanks, DaVinci!

    March 2024
  • Sara Ko

    Participating in the DaVinci International Film Festival was an incredible experience from start to finish. The communication was spot on—timely and professional, showing genuine care for filmmakers and their films.

    The festival programmers clearly have a passion for cinema, crafting a lineup that truly stands out. Working with Team Diff was a pleasure; their support and warmth made the whole journey unforgettable.

    Being featured alongside such remarkable works was humbling. I can't wait for the chance to participate again, hopefully in person. The entire process, from start to finish, was both enjoyable and highly professional, thanks to their team.

    March 2024
  • Ron Placone

    Excellent Festival and was proud to be a part of it. Kind and welcoming hosts, wonderful panels, productive and fun networking events. Highly recommend!

    March 2024
  • Katherine Schimmel

    Wonderful festival with a highly professional, passionate and dedicated team. Many thanks for all and congratulations to all participants!

    March 2024
  • Carolina Garrido

    The 2024 DaVinci International Film Festival impressed with its brilliant display of high-quality films and its flawless online presentation. The diversity of genres, the quality of the works showcased, and the seamless online experience make this festival a cinematic celebration that transcends borders. DaVinci 2024 demonstrates how a passion for film can unite people from around the world, even in the digital space.

    March 2024