How to get your films shown in film festivals

I first started going to festivals whilst a student at uni. I would go to prestigious international events and some local small key events. I found the same problem every where I went. All the films were so serious!
The subject matter was all based around abuse, or social views and opinions. They all had a very serious message that each artist/film maker wanted to convey.
Film and animation are great ways to communicate a message to a wide audience. It speaks clearer than a painting or sculpture might do. I strongly believe that we should encourage this where ever possible. But after the fourth, fifth, sixth, film about the environment I was starting to feel that each film was merging into the other.

I decided to take a different approach when thinking of my next project. I still wanted to convey a message but my real intent was to give the audiences of the festivals a break from the harsh realities of life and maybe give them a little something to chuckle at.
I made a light hearted film, a fairy tale almost, with a funny twist at the end. The story came to me in a dream in fact. It was received well and shown at a number of festivals both in the UK and abroad.

Don't limit yourself to just festivals in your own country, branch out and maybe you'll get invited over to accept an award if you win!

I guess novelty is always a good way to make your film stand out from the crowd. My film didn't have a massive budget, there wasn't a shed load of computer graphics, just a good story with a beginning, middle and end.
Whilst all the serious films are competing to be the most shocking or hard hitting, you can stand in a different league and be noticed for being original and most of all make a film that people will enjoy watching. After all escapism from all our usual day to day things is one of the main reasons why we watch films.

Good luck!