Davinci International Film Festival hosts first live event in two years
September 20, 2022
After an inconsistent two years, fall film festivals are back in full swing, including the DaVinci International Film Festival (DIFF). Established in 2017, founder and CEO Chadwick Pelletier says it’s the birth child of nearly three decades of entertainment industry and brand development experience.
“I moved to LA in the late 90s — slinging hash at Jerry’s Famous Deli while chasing the Brass Ring in Hollywood; I worked as an actor before I found any traction as a screenwriter, and later writer-director-actor on a number of short films,” he tells Final Draft. “My goal was to find success in the festival circuit — an open source platform for anyone with a dollar and a decent product — but as a social introvert I often found myself sneaking out the backdoor with my award to avoid small talk.”
He admits “that was no way to build industry relationships,” and so the large part of his motivation to launch DaVinci was to cater to filmmakers similar to him “by delivering a high-end, boutique and intimate experience that gave our Selections the spotlight — they couldn’t sneak out even if they wanted to, because we’d know they were missing.”
The festival governs four signature programs including narrative, documentary, screenwriting, and animation that are in-competition for their coveted Leo award: a 17-lb, museum-grade bust statue of the luminary himself, Leonardo da Vinci. Filmmakers participating in their ultra-short program, GENiUS (fka “COVIDaVINCI”) compete for the Audience Award and are showcased both at the live event as well as DaVinci Online.
As for the fest’s Official Selections, Pelletier says they look for all types of films and screenplays, “but the through-line is exceptional.”
“Like many festivals, we set out to honor the very best in independent cinema and do it by taking the full scope of creative discipline into consideration. From directing and performances to color correction, score to sound design, our Jury is tasked with assessing each project based on its overall merit as it relates to storytelling.”
He says this plays into the mission at DaVinci as well, which is “to deliver an experience that honors the creative and communicates professionalism to the highest degree; to cultivate a trusted power-brand among the independent filmmaking and arts communities.”
This year the fest is introducing the first international panel, Film Canada, presented by William F. White, which will host industry executives from “Hollywood North” (Vancouver B.C.) to discuss the filmmaking industry in Canada. “We will also be introducing an all-new Digital Hollywood program that will showcase an A-List NFT film project followed by filmmaker Q&A and a moderated panel to discuss the burgeoning tech and its influence and trajectory in Hollywood.”
Also on deck for this year's film festival Pelletier says they are coming out of the pandemic in a “big way” with their first live event in two years: “In addition to our new venue home at AMC Theaters at The Grove in Los Angeles, our new Digital Hollywood and Film Canada programs and panels, we are expanding into a two-day weekend event with live music, kick-off and after parties, swag, and awards for ’22 winners as well as for those who won awards during COVID online (2020 + 2021).”
The silver lining with the pandemic, says Pelletier, is that “we now have an online platform that we will be running in parallel to our live event for guests and filmmakers around the world who could otherwise not attend. The online experience will come with all the perks including VOD and a virtual step-and-repeat!”
If someone is interested in attending for the first time, Pelletier says, “Come and Experience the DIFF. This is our tagline because we aim to make a DIFFerence for our Creatives (and guests). Our reviews speak for themselves but there is something very unique about DaVinci, something you just have to experience.” Badge holders will have access to everything DIFF for the weekend — films, filmmaker Q&A, panels, programs, awards, parties, Grove discounts and more. “It’s going to be quite a party and we hope to see you there.”
Written by: Brianne HoganBrianne Hogan is a freelance writer currently based in Prince Edward Island. A film studies graduate from NYU, her byline's been featured in Creative Screenwriting, ScreenCraft, The Huffington Post, among others. "Jurassic Park" is unashamedly her favorite movie (at this moment). You can follow Brianne on Twitter via @briannehogan