Just to be a bit of a devil's advocate - If you are saying you should budget time and money to promote and self distribute your film, then really isn't that just the same as giving a distributor a fee and a cut of profits, except you are trading the risk of getting screwed with by an unscrupulous distributor for the risk of yourself failing to successfully self distribute?
Now, in your case the fact that the film was made for $6000 (an impossible figure for you to scale into a commercial endeavor - although I see from your other article that it was enough to pay your actors something, although, I'm guessing about $100 a day?) then self distribution is probably the best way to pay back people who have lent you money, because the costs involved better reflect the market potential of the product.
But you are opting out of the entire commercial end of film making (distribution) for the sake of $6,000 - when the connections you could make through having a successful relationship with a good distributor could be worth far more to your career than $6,000.
And I guess the answer to what way is right comes down to where you see your career development coming from, is it from the people who entrusted you with $6,000 to make a piece of art, or is it from the commercial side of the industry that is looking to try and sell content in an increasingly cluttered market place.
For my money, I do have to wonder if all the time and effort you put into self distribution had instead been spent courting distributors and sales agents to find the RIGHT distributor or sales agent for your film, whether you would not have been better off.
Of course, finding sales agents and distributors can be a more opaque process seemingly than self distributing online, also, if your film's audience isn't likely to be big enough to support their cut, then it is also a waste of time - so that just comes down to how many people you really think will watch your film (which is a separate thing again to how many people will think your film is good).
For my money - time spent finding an international sales agent, who could have sold your film into France and French speaking territories, maybe get a studio like Orange to take a look at it, would be a much more productive use of your time in terms of both career and finances.
Airline sales to french speaking territories in particular (given the film takes place in LA and is in fact about traveling, and so would likely appeal to traveling audiences) is something you should really be looking into.
Now, the good thing about self distribution to the point you have done it, it doesn't preclude getting a sales agent at this point - but it might water down their interest because the bigger sales they might have been able to get may be hampered by the fact that it's available on these other platforms (that's changing, but it's a case by case basis - by going self distributed first, you'll never know what would work better - you seem to have made the choice that you are most comfortable with.)
So basically, one thing I would suggest from an outside point of view, is that there are two parts to distribution, domestic and international - and even though you have your films on 'international' platforms, being a French language film you have a massive audience that will have no idea that it exists, that an international sales agent with expertise in those markets could realize for you.
Go out and find one, strike a good deal, but most importantly build relationships - because you are going to need a real expert at selling films sooner or later if you are going to be a professional film maker - if you find the right partner now it could make finding the money for your next films (and enough to actually pay people properly) a lot more achievable.