I'm not an experienced filmmaker, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn and have done quite a bit of reading about this whole filmmaking process.
AFM in Santa Monica isn't going to be good for you.
Expect a member here DirectorRik to confirm that.
Your budget doesn't matter at all to anybody. (And please don't spend $250k on this. If you're asking these kinds of questions then that's a lot of money to shoot down the toilet.)
Your distribution route is what will matter to anyone with serious financing capabilities (and sub-$1 or 2million is just the beginning of industry low-budget qualifications.)
Financing depends upon marketability.
Who do you have attached that distributors can market the names of?
Foreign pre-sales is where any film financing process begins - and that requires a marketable name in front of or behind the camera.
You can act and direct all you want
, even pay for it.
if a distributor cant sell you then... you're bringing them nothing useful.