Who We Are & What We Do
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!
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 its trailer and is screening in various cities this fall. 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.
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).
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.
2016 Host and Filmmaker Liason
Joel has worked with CCFF in past years and is back in 2016 with big tricks! Joel is a Chicago comedian and actor and you can view his work at www.joelwiersema.com
ABOUT THE FEST
Chicago Comedy Film Festival is committed to bringing independent comedy to the screen. Our mission is to support comedy filmmaking as a vital and influential art form. Comedy allows us to explore subject matters in a way that no other genre can or will. We can say the things our audience wishes the world would say. Comedy is fearless in a fear based world.
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.
CCFF is continuously looking to build new relationships and find ways for filmmakers to expand on marketing their work. We are managed by Collab Studios of Los Angeles and work with their team on events, partnerships, filmmaker opportunities and original content. 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 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!