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 a proud member of SAG-AFTRA. She has appeared in commercials, television, and independent films. She is a graduate of The Second City Chicago conservatory and studied with Acting Studio Chicago and Lesly Kahn Studios in Los Angeles. In 2015 she was the showcase showdown winner on the Price is Right!
Brent Kado, Executive Director
Brent Kado is the Executive Director of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival. He is a filmmaker, director, 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 had its world premiere at the Rhode Island International Film Festival August 2016 and now is distributed by Red Bull TV. 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.
Haley Padilla, Festival Coordinator
Haley Padilla graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, MO in 2015 with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Digital Filmmaking. Film festivals hold a particularly special place in her heart. For 3 years, she was the Merchandise Manager for the Citizen Jane Film Festival and has been a screener for 5. While she enjoys going to the theater for the latest and greatest from the likes of Greta Gerwig or Ava DuVernay, she really appreciates the culture and support that can only be found at an independent film fest.
Jill Stuck, Volunteer Coordinator
Jill Stuck is the Volunteer Coordinator 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).
JD Hecht, Technical Manager
JD Hecht makes a lot of things happen like making sure movies are playing on the screen and computers do not blow up at the box office. Jeremy didn’t write this biography because he is too busy volunteering as a musical director for a choir or travelling for his day job managing large scale events. We also know that Jeremy specializes in a holiday decor and could spend hours laying the tinsel and jingling the jingles all the way.
Will Torrence, Programming Assistant
Will Torrence movedto Chicago to pursue a degree in film at Columbia College Chicago, from where he graduated in 2017. Fond of all different types of films, he has a particular soft spot for comedies. When he's not watching films, he uses the remaining few hours of the day to write his own. In addition to films, he enjoys music, traveling, and being around large bodies of water. Whenever the opportunity arises, he likes to travel to the waterfront of Lake Erie in Pennsylvania.
Andre Baranov, Volunteer Assistant
Andre Baranov is excited to serve as an Intern for the Chicago Comedy Film Festival! He is currently a Junior at Northwestern University studying Radio/Television/Film and Theatre, and his favorite films include "The Searchers," "Thelma and Louise," and "Das Testament des Dr. Mabuse.
Emily Bahnfleth, 2019-2020 Intern
Emily Bahnfleth is a student at Columbia College Chicago studying Cinema and Television Arts with a Concentration in Writing and Producing. She’s a comedy nerd whose idols include Mindy Kaling, Elizabeth Meriwether, Lena Waithe, and Tina Fey. In addition to CCFF, she has interned on a web series and a feature-length documentary. She is prone to uncomfortable silences and getting stumped by basic geography.
Joshua Beittenmiller, 2019-2020 Intern
Josh is a senior at Columbia College Chicago, majoring in Cinema & Television Arts. His focuses are in writing and editing, as well as cinema critique & analysis. Over his short film career, Josh has worked on more than 30 sets, edited a multitude of media, written a number of short films and sketches, and has had the opportunity to produce and direct two of those. These days, he spends his time editing for the Fulton Street Collective, and viewing & rating festival submissions for the Chicago Comedy Film Festival.
Nate Junkroski, 2019-2020 Intern
Nate Junkroski is a senior at Columbia College Chicago finishing his degree in Cinema Arts and Science. Nate works a lot in documentary and loves to explore real life stories. His favorite films are Wayne's World, Do The Right Thing, and Trainspotting. Nate is excited to be a part of The Chicago Comedy Film Festival to discover new people and their films to enjoy.
Laz Patillo, 2019-2020 Intern
Laz Patillo is a comedian and filmmaker who graduated from Moraine Valley with a Multimedia Design certification. While a student, Laz had the opportunity to learn a number of valuable skills that include video editing, storyboarding, VFX etc. He has also gained practical experience by creating and contributing to various short films and independent features. Additionally, he has studied screenwriting and improvisation at The Second City training center. In his spare time he enjoys doing stand-up comedy and sketch performance. Laz’s purpose within in his own craft is to test the limits of each genre as well as explore themes of maturity and the human condition. Talents include memorizing and reciting all the lyrics to The Fresh Prince of Bel-air theme song and ranting to everyone that Adam Sandler deserved an Oscar for ‘Click’.
Maureen Polyak, 2019-2020 Intern
Maureen Polyak is going into her third year at Columbia College Chicago where she is double majoring in Comedy Writing & Performance and Television Writing and Production. She’s a proud graduate of The Second City Teen Program and continues to help assistant direct The Teen Ensemble. She is also a content creator for Elizabeth Banks’ co-founded company “Whohaha”, a platform for funny women in comedy. She is beyond excited to be interning at The Chicago Comedy Film Festival, where she hopes to learn a lot, and maybe laugh a little too.
Amber Wood, 2019-2020 Intern
Amber Wood is an aspiring screenwriter from the suburbs of Chicago who enjoys exploring themes of interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships in her creative works. Some of her favorite films include Scream, Ed Wood, and Napoleon Dynamite. As a longtime fan of laughter, Amber looks forward to working with the Chicago Comedy Film Festival as she believes Comedy is a powerful tool used to help communicate ideas and connect with others.