Now I could go on at length about how I've come to hate film festivals (and rather quickly since I've only been finished Archon Defender for about 4 months now... I'm a fast learner... it comes with being a solo animator ;)
M dot Strange has a good blog entry about film festivals:
Here's how it goes...
You pay a fee... $50 - $100 for a feature
A) You get rejected AND they are nice enough to keep your money
B) You get accepted THEN they send you a page of EXACT technical specs you must meet so they can screen your film
Example: "We are the Strange" was HD.... so my cheapest full quality option was HDCAM which cost about $1,500.00 for one copy
Now in just under a month (3 weeks actually) since Archon Defender was featured on the front page of YouTube, the film has been viewed over 200,000 times, with 500 feedback comments both good and bad (and of the "complainer" comments, 0 postings of their own solo animated feature films) Not only that, but the first batch of DVD's I sent to Filmbaby.com sold out already, with a new shipment sent to restock them today.
You just aren't going to get this kind of response from the film festicals. At best you'll be faced with general apathy (from both the festivals and the 'film media') At worst, you'll end up out big cash, selling off the rights to your movie to some distributor who will use fancy accounting tricks to further screw you out of your due, or just sit on your film while it languishes in obscurity.
YouTube has been a fantastic outlet, and I encourage any indie filmmaker, animator, or episodic 'original content creators' to approach them with your project. In terms of building exposure while sharing in ad revenue, you come out ahead on both counts. This is also why I am supporting OpenIndie.com and their efforts to set up a system for indie filmmakers to screen their movies to their target audience, an audience built online through word of mouth. The future is crowdsourcing, the old models of media monoliths are obsolete.
(*1) Not a typo ;P