Let's talk about festivals.
I have been re-navigating the festival world after a ten year hiatus and have discovered it is a very different beast.
Here's the short version what I have learned:
1)If you don't know someone or know someone who knows someone at the fest there's a good chance that you are throwing your money down the drain.
2) Keep an eye out for scams. Unfortunately people are scamming indie filmmakers. If it doesn't sound legit or you can't find reviews maybe hold off.
3)Pay for the ones you are really interested in then ask for waivers from the rest. If they are interested they will respond.
4) Really do your research on the fests. Know your film's selling points and who your demographic is-- align those with the festivals you choose.
5) Be prepared to find another way to exhibit your film. When I did this back in 2007 we booked 12 fests out of 48-- this time around 1 out of 22 so far. Lots of rejection letters-- not even letters. Most of the time I just notice that the deadline has passed and we aren't showing. Don't take it personally:).
6)You can hire a consultant to help you with your strategy-- I met one at Women Texas Film Festival. I didn't feel the cost/benefit of her fee was worth it for our specific situation.
Navigating the festival scene can be overwhelming. If you need help sorting through it all, let me know!