Here's a few thoughts by Desmond on grassroots production efforts, and where to put your efforts-
Be diligent with your outreach, especially when you are doing things on a grassroots budget. Printing up flyers and putting them in a stack on a table is not tremendously effective. People need to feel connected to your material and excited about it. The more reasons they have to see your film, the more likely they will. Many people go to films on referral. If you can get a major paper to print an article or get on a popular radio broadcast or TV spot, it will give you and your film more weight.
This is something very important to take advantage of when your film is playing in a festival or screening in a particular city.
If you have it within your budget to hire a publicist, then it can be very useful. Feel them out and tell them what your goals are. You, ultimately are driving the car. And just like talent that can't expect their agent or manager to do all the work, you must also utilize all of your resources to gain the most press.
Most festivals will offer you a press list. It is usually in their best interest to offer this, unless they have very exclusive press contacts that they don't wish to share. Promoting your film will also promote their festival.
Get used to calling and emailing several times, to get ahold of the various press agencies. Often times you will have to dig to find the strongest point of contact. Sometimes it will be that 10th phone call, sometimes it will be the first. It's hard to know.
Gauge how beneficial each press outlet is for you. The more press you get, the bigger you build the pedigree of your film and yourself as a brand, as well as an accepted artist. Half of acceptance and recognition is plowing your way through. The other half is pounding out consistently valuable content. Leverage your press and don't sell yourself short. Find a way to spin your personal story to make it worthwhile to whomever might be potentially covering you and your film in a story or interview. .