Film festivals are mainly considered a film marketing exercise. If your film gets noticed at the right festivals it will grow beyond them and eventually get a wider release.
But film festivals are also a target audience in themselves. They can be a hyper-focused ultra-niche audience. Especially when you consider the fact that there are thousands of legitimate film festivals out there. Sure the A-List festivals with all the reputation and panache are on everyone’s list, but genre pictures shouldn’t just target those. Find the best damn genre festivals in your local area and grow from there.
I was tempted to list legitimate festivals here. But they come and they go. Plus it’s a full time job tracking festivals.