Thoughts on Film Festivals?

As an aspiring animator and film maker, what are your thoughts on submitting films to festivals? Has anyone here had experience submitting their own film to one before? Is it worth it? Did you go to the fest yourself?

I really enjoy the idea of an audience of people seeing my film on a big screen for the first time, though if I’m not there, I guess it wouldn’t really matter! I’ve been looking at festivals that are more local to me so I could actually be there, sadly most of them are pay to submit (Though, I wouldn’t mind paying a small fee, especially if I’m going). But there are a lot of festivals that are free to submit which I wouldn’t mind sending my film too, I just wouldn’t be able to be there, as none of them are local.

But is it worth sending your film to a fest? These days you can just post a film online and call it a day. Knowing that just about anyone in the world can view your movie. That’s why I think going to a local festival would be better, at least than I could socialize with other artists and film makers hopefully… (doesn’t help that I’m rather introverted though) But I’d at least try!

So, does anyone here have experience with submitting films to fests? What was your experience like? Did most festivals accept your film or not? Did you have a good time meeting people if you were there? I know all film festivals are different so the experience can very from person to person.

Filmfreeway for a list of different festivals.

My thought is that, if you intend to market your movie, a film festival might be a good way to garner some industry exposure. Even having your work accepted at one is an accolade in itself.

That’s definitely true. It’s a good way to get more people to know who you are I suppose.
And from what I here, getting your film accepted at a large well known festival is quite hard unless you’ve already had previous films at smaller fests, and you’ve built a reputation for quality film making.