From me, the ideal venue would be an independent, small theater w/a decent size screen, good sound, good seating (100+ seats) & responsive/non-crazy management. Most cities have a couple of such venues. But if those venues are too busy to show my film then I need some alternatives. The major exhibitors' interest in some indie programming could be useful to filmmakers like myself. Specially when I live in a time & place where the biggest indie chain pulls a movie 5 days before its premiere (Landmark, "I Am A Sex Addict") and there are some small indie theaters that I do not want to deal with due to various questionable practices of theirs or their owners.
I still need to finish my list of cool (as far as I can tell), real indie theaters & post it up here. As soon as I get all the work for the 5/13 Goethe, DC & 5/19-21 NWFF, Seattle screenings done, I'll finish that list. I think now I'll also add a smaller list of mainstream alternatives to the real indie theaters too. Options are good. However, no matter what the mainstream theaters do from time to time, real indie theaters are necessary for the existence of real indie film/foreign film culture & should be overwhelmingly supported, as long as they do not do jerky things.