012: Critics are your friends.
Some filmmakers have an antagonistic relationship with the critical community. I don't get that. Critics write about movies. They might write positively or negatively about a particular film, but they're still writing about movies.
Before people can watch a movie, they have to know that movie exists. You can advertise a movie, but that's expensive. The only thing a review costs is a DVD screener and some postage. And maybe a little pride, in the case of a negative review. But if you're making indie movies, you have more pride to spare than cash.
Critics don't just write about which movies are "good" and which movies are "bad." They write movie news stories and interviews, too. So there's always the possibility that a positive or even mixed review can turn into an interview, or at least a notice when the movie is screened in theaters, released to DVD, or shown on television. Or maybe a separate story for each of those events.
I've stayed in touch with several of the critics who praised Hide and Creep. I've met a few of them in person, even drank a few beers with one of them. I just received an email from a critic who wants to help me find a new distributor for Hide and Creep. Good critics are like good filmmakers -- they love movies and want as many people as possible to see good flicks.
There's a lot of talk these days about how inexpensive technology has made it possible for just about anyone to shoot a movie. More movies means the independent movie scene is more competitive. It is less often mentioned that inexpensive technology has also made it easier for people to write about movies, creating more opportunities for people to read about any given movie. Make life a little easier for all those critics -- send 'em a screener of your movie. They might respond by making life a little easier for you.
*I'm not talking about random hecklers, but actual critics who write actual reviews with complete sentences and everything.