This advice is for future me as much as for you.
Once you have a movie, or even ENOUGH of the movie...
Start looking for a distributor.
To begin with, find movies of a similar type and see who distributed those.
If you're making a slick investigative exposé about animal rights, then discover who distributed the last big movie of that type.
If you've made a small VHS-styled experimental film, then find out who's distributing the ones you admire.
Next, make an auxiliary list of another 9 or so distributors.
These are our backups - although it's likely a "backup" may become our distributor.
Write to the head of the company.
It's best if you can coax-out a mutual friend or interest that could help you.
Perhaps the owner of the local movie theater knows somebody you can contact.
Or the executive director of a local movie group.
If you can't discover anything mutual it's not the end of the world.
Everybody starts somewhere.
And remember: you have your energy and enthusiasm.
Walt Disney started just like this.
In fact, he's the inspiration for this post.
When Walt semi-finished one of his first original Alice in Wonderland cartoons back in 1922, Disney being the young entrepreneur that he was, contacted a New York based distributor (from Kansas!).
He did have a mutual contact via the theater owner (Milton Field) who was playing some of his promotional cartoon shorts locally.
In the cold letter to the distributor, Walt writes:
"[I've] just discovered something new and clever in animated cartoons! ...a new idea that will appeal to all classes and is bound to be a winner... a clever combination of live characters and cartoons..."