Needles to say, film festivals are great experiences and opportunities for filmmakers. Here are some thoughts that I had while I was participating film festivals including Sacramento Film Festival 2012.
1. When your film is shown, you can learn about what was wrong with your film because you can definitely feel the atmosphere of the audience in the theater even though they do not comment anything about your film. It is the moment that you learn most about filmmaking and the anxiety that you feel by being revealed as an artist gives you the insight to really honestly see your work.
2. Be proud of yourself, enjoy every moment and be the love. It does not really matter which film festival chooses your film or whether your film is awarded or not. It is literally 'the festival' for filmmakers. Get everything possible there. It could be sharing ideas, inspirations, encouragements, appreciations and anything about films.
3. Go further. Please do not stop there where you got into. You do not want to say someday that you made a film that was shown at a film festival but you have been really making films hard.
Since my experiences at festivals are not much, these are things I can say now.