What's the DIFF?

... It's the DaVinci International Film Festival (DIFF), but also a popular question 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, and so we aim to recognize much of the same at our festival.

Like many other festivals, we set out to honor the best in independent cinema from around the world, and have expanded our Award Categories to recognize many below-the-liners who largely go unnoticed and unrewarded. We seek the unsung heroes here at DaVinci. From best in editing, color correction, sound design, to theatrical creative and P&A, just to name a few. At DIFF, we shine the light on many of those who work silently, yet play an important role in getting projects to this very stage. DIFF also shines the light on screenwriting through our sister-brand, STORYLINE℠ with our quarterly and annual competitions. After all, where would any of us be without a story to tell?

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 that we are now offering development Options for our top three (3) unscripted competition winners (per category), which will afford them an amazing opportunity to put their projects in front of networks and industry decision-makers. In addition, DIFF co-launched the DaVinci Film Institute, and will be donating a portion of our entry proceeds toward a film grant for one duly qualified winner. Learn more about the Film Institute 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 Santa Monica, where they will compete against other quarterly winners for their shot at our most prized commendation, The Leo.

Films will screen at our red carpet event at the Laemmle Theater 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

Awards & Prizes

- THE LEO (Best of Fest; presented at Live Showcase Event. One Leo for film production and one for Best Screenplay)
- VITRUVIAN AWARD (Quarterly Feature, Short & Screenplay ONLY)
- DIFF CERTIFICATE & WINNERS LAUREL (Quarterly category winners)
- Sponsors prize package
- More at: davincifilmfestival.com

Rules & Terms

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.

6 Reviews

Overall Rating
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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
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    Greg Hill

    I really liked this film festival. It's a classy and very well put together.

    August 2017
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    Stanley Sievers

    Thanks for including our music video "Killed Them Both" in your festival! Communication was great, and we greatly appreciated the honorable mention. I would definitely submit again for another project.

    August 2017
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    Gina Cresse

    I was so happy to learn that my screenplay The Mona Lisa Caper was a Vitruvian Award Winner for the DaVinci Film Festival. I'm looking forward to the live event next year. Thank you!

    August 2017
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    McKay Stewart

    Very professional, know what they are doing. New but worth it! Definitely good networking opportunity. Chadwick, the director, is very well-connected.

    August 2017