Chris Kumar

Source: Screen File

Chris Kumar

Film programmer and programme coordinator, Glasgow Film Festival 

As a child growing up in Scotland, Chris Kumar spent summers in his father’s native Malaysia and the family frequently enjoyed summer blockbusters together — Jurassic Park and Last Action Hero among them — so he still has a soft spot for 1980s and ’90s cinema.

Kumar remembers watching Gareth Evans’ The Raid at Glasgow Film Festival (GFF) in 2012 before he had even considered a career at festivals. “Everyone was cheering and losing their minds at what they were watching,” he recalls. “It felt like such a communal, exciting thing to be a part of.”

Kumar came into the industry via the Independent Cinema Office’s FEDS scheme, which supports people from marginalised backgrounds to explore careers in film exhibition. After eight months on the scheme at Glasgow Film Theatre in 2018, he was hired by GFF as a programme assistant. “And I haven’t looked back,” he says.

At GFF’s 2024 edition in February, Kumar loved watching the festival’s eventual audience award winner, Icelandic sports documentary The Home Game, with the cinema-­obsessed (and football-loving) citizens of Glasgow. “I must admit to shedding a wee tear as I stood at the back of the cinema watching as the crowd reacted to every kick of the ball like they were watching the game in the flesh.”

Kumar especially likes scouting films in Toronto (where his brother lives), Austin’s Fantastic Fest, Tallinn Black Nights in Estonia and Slamdance in Utah, and seeing film­makers “graduate” from shorts at Glasgow Short Film Festival to features at GFF.

“I am continually being surprised by what filmmakers are out there creating,” he says. “Seeing something that makes you excited to tell people about is a joy. As long as you’re watching plenty of stuff, you’re never too far away from your new favourite film.”

Contact: Chris Kumar