This is the hardest part (emotionally) of running a festival: sending rejection letters, especially when you know the filmmaker personally, sometimes from childhood, sometimes from another festival, sometimes from our own festival last year.
Like most festivals, we have a limited number of slots and screens available, and we have to compile the best lineup for that specific year. We take most of our films from those submitted to us, but we also solicit films we hear about from other festivals, or that our eyes and ears out in Holly-weird recommend to us.
It isn't easy to reject films made by someone we like. But, unfortunately, it happens. And for that, I'm sorry.