Atlanta Film Festival programmer Charles Judson, writing for CinemATL.com:
. . . filmmakers have to realize that any film festival worth a damn is always juggling several goals and missions. That a festival’s curatorial mission is more than just subjectively selecting the “best” films. That diversity doesn’t just extend to who are the leads and who is behind the camera.
It also encompasses the genres being programmed, the different categories the festival includes and representing the myriad of styles and approaches filmmakers have tackled in their work. It’s being aware of the conversations and real world events taking place globally and locally when thinking about what films to select for the documentaries. It’s knowing what the festival has screened the last few years and balancing keeping the festival fresh, current, forward thinking and respectful of our cinematic heritage, all at the same time.
Judson's words come in response to criticism from the local filmmaking community that the festival doesn't support their work. If you want to learn more about the thought processes of a programmers and the pressures they often work under, read this.