Small distributors that pick up independent films without any sales plan and marketing money in place, are probably just using your film, aka via the ‘recoupable expenses’ provision in your distribution contract, to pay for their Cannes hotel. Your movie isn’t going anywhere, unless by accident.
Finished a film? Congratulations. You just climbed Everest.
But if you are about to ‘sell’ that movie, be careful who you deal with, and be careful about the terms upon which you sign that movie away, especially when dealing with a distributor without a significant track record, these guys come and go with alarming regularity, and some of the business and accounting practices can best be described as ‘wild west.’
The term of a film distribution contract can be as long as 25 years, if not forever, you see.
That’s a long time to see your brilliant movie sit on a shelf, before you get the rights back and the chance to try to salvage something from the project, make some sales. At which point, your movie will be very old, unsellable, perhaps.