Who We Are & What We Do


Artistic Director

Jessica Hardy is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. She works with Brent Kado under their film company Flowfeel Films to develop short and feature films. They have produced three feature comedies. In 2010, when she was researching comedy film festivals she discovered that there are few. That was when she decided to launch CCFF. The festival has been recognized by MovieMaker magazine for being one of the top film festivals worth the entry fee. Hardy strives to support comedy filmmaking as a vital and influential art form. She is also a member of SAG-AFTRA. She has appeared in commercials, television, and independent films. When she is not auditioning she enjoys teaching and performing improv. She is a graduate of Indiana University and The Second City Chicago conservatory and studied with Lesly Kahn in Los Angeles. In 2015 she was the showcase showdown winner on the Price is Right!

Executive Director

Brent Kado is the Executive Director of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. He is a filmmaker and screenwriter recognized for his work in the Chicago Sun Times, TimeOut Chicago, Indiewire, and MovieMaker Magazine. He is an executive producer on Festival: A Documentary which recently had its world premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival August 2016 . His recent feature film A Short History of Drugs in the Valley just released on Amazon Prime. Kado is an adjunct professor at Columbia College Chicago. He attended DePaul University for his MA in Cultural Studies and attended Purdue University for his PhD in American Film Studies. He left his PhD program so that he could pursue more filmmaking endeavors and late night burrito binges.

Operations Manager

Jill Olson is the Operations Manager of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. She is also the founder and producer of Storytown (www.storytownimprov.com), a fully improvised, interactive story for children 3-10 years old and their families.  She just recently joined Funny Bones Improv (www.funnybonesimprov.com) as their Chicago Director.  Jill graduated Cum Laude from Towson University with BA in Theater Arts. She is a graduate of the iO and Second City Conservatory improv programs and has performed around Chicago with iO, Second City’s Skybox Theater,  Moving Dock Theater Company, Redtwist Theatre, and WNEP with Seven Deadly Plays and 365 Sketches. She also studied playwriting at The Chicago Dramatists. Writing credits include Left Unnamed as part of the 5th Annual Women’sPerformance Art Festival with Stockyards Theatre Project, Eleanor in American Machine and Other Works.  She wrote and produced Mayfly: A Collection of Short Plays.  Jill Olson has served as Program Coordinator for This Is ME and Child Whisperer for The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival. In addition to teaching with Dream Big Performing Arts Workshop, she is an improv Professor or Merriment with The Laughing Academy (www.thelaughingacademy.com).

Technical Manager

Tim Olson is the Technical Director of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. Tim is also the script supervisor at Steve Harvey on NBC with plenty of experience in entertainment. He’s worked for years in commercials, feature films and television throughout Chicago. Tim’s equally nerdy with comedy and tech, which is why he handles all the technical needs for CCFF. While he loves dogs and cats, he is oh so dedicated to his job and the festival, that he only has time to pet sit.  

Julie Proudfoot joins us in partnership for grants and funding development. Julie Proudfoot is the founder and Artistic Director of Artemisia, an Actors’ Equity Theatre dedicated to producing female-driven plays (new works with “women at the core") since 2011.  Julie is an AEA, SAG-AFTRA actor, a director and a story analyst for HBO Films.  She is thrilled to partner with Chicago Comedy Film Festival in development.

2017 Host-Auditions 7/24-7/25 (See Actors Access)

2017 Interns

About the Fest

Chicago Comedy Film Festival's mission is to support comedy filmmaking as a vital and influential art form. We are a 501c3 nonprofit and exist to educate and support a diverse network of comedy filmmakers from across the globe. The festival showcases films that range from low budget to studio quality. We champion strong voices in comedic storytelling. 

In researching film festivals our artistic director found that there are limited options for comedy filmmakers. The festival circuit can be highly exclusive and favors experimental and dramatic films. In 2010 Hardy founded the festival with the goal in mind to bring comedy filmmakers to the great city of Chicago and to give comedy filmmakers a meeting place to exchange ideas, showcase their work, and celebrate comedy film.

CCFF is continuously looking to build new relationships and find ways for filmmakers to expand on marketing their work. Combined, our staff has 15 years experience in television, film, education, and comedy production. We spend a great deal of our time making sure CCFF is a well organized event. Many of our films have gone on to distribution on Netflix and other platforms. We are constantly seeking award opportunities for filmmakers and every year we award the Top Female Filmmaker to encourage women to continue creating their own opportunities to write and act in roles that inspire them.

We aim to make your festival experience as a filmmaker fun and memorable. Our volunteers and staff have years of experience in the Chicago arts and aim to honor your talents with a festival that promises to be for YOU. From goodie bags to after parties, CCFF is a festival that knows how to be VIP without being stuffy!