You've submitted to your first festival choice and they decided to go with another film. It hurts, but some festivals submissions later, you've been accepted and will be attending said festival. If you've done your homework, you knows whos coming and maybe have a few meetings set up. That's when you notice that the first festival who rejected your film is coming. Specifically the programmer who reviewed your film and said pass.
What do you do?
Nothing above and beyond. If you happen to 'bump' into them, introduce yourself and the film that you submitted to their festival. If they don't remember your film it's not the end of the world, nor is it an insult to you as a filmmaker. Remember that programmers can watch up to X amount of movies in one day. If you do the math, it could be anywhere to a thousands films a month.
What you could do is chat up the programmer. If it's the head programmer or festival director, get a feel for how they look to select films in the future. Are they going to be focused on a specific genre? Are they looking for more female collaborations with a specific culture? Where does this programmer see the festival going based on their film selection?
I once talked to a festival director in Europe and he liked to have themes every year. Another festival in the UK was programming cheesy horror flicks. I wouldn't have know any of this if they didn't say no to my film and if I didn't 'bump' into them and just strike up a conversation.
Have a story to share about your festival experiences? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org