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.
Jill Olson, 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).
Jeremy Hecht, Box Office Manager
Haley Padilla, Assistant to the Artistic Director
Haley Padilla graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, MO in 2015 with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Digital Filmmaking. She is currently a freelance designer, video and podcast editor. She took a TV and Screenwriting class at the Second City where she spent time refining her short comedy/horror, Boy Eats Girl, which will go into production in July 2018. 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.
Will Torrence, Festival Assistant
Will Torrence movedto Chicago to pursue a degree in film at Columbia College Chicago, from where he recently graduated. 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.
Hailey McNamara, Festival Assistant
Hailey McNamara Hailey McNamara graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2016, receiving her BA in Cinema Art & Science with a concentration in screenwriting. While at Columbia, Hailey also took classes at The Second City Training Center. Previously an intern for Chicago Comedy Film Festival, Hailey has placed in several screenwriting competitions, including the Written Image Screenwriting Award at Columbia College for The Birthmark, a short horror script, and The Modcon Film Festival in London for Cookie Jar, a feature dark comedy. Hailey recently wrote and produced The Bearded Lady, a low budget dark comedy/thriller, which is currently in post production.
Makasha Copeland, Summer Intern
Makasha Copeland is a rising Junior at Northwestern University majoring in Theatre with focuses in Latinx Studies and Comedy Arts. On campus, she is involved with several performance groups including The Titanic Players, Mee-Ow Comedy, and Griffin's Tale Children's Theatre Repertory. She also serves as Archivist for Vertigo Productions, a theatre board dedicated to producing student written work. She is excited to work as a Research intern for Chicago Comedy Film Festival this summer!
Abby Perez, Summer Intern
Abby is a student at Columbia College Chicago majoring in TV Writing and Producing. She just wrapped an internship at ABC 7 Chicago and has big plans for the future.