Staff & Interns
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 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 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 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.
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 moved to 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.
Genevieve Kane is filmmaker and writer, born and raised in Chicago. She is currently a Junior at Northwestern University working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Radio/Television/Film and English. Genevieve has always been very passionate about film production and has been making short films for the majority of her life. A parody film she had made with her sister was discovered by none other than Macaulay Culkin. She now writes for his satirical lifestyle blog, bunnyears.com. Genevieve is an enthusiastic student, a passionate artist, and a hardworking employee.
Kady McElhattan grew up in Texas, and worked as a photographer at Walt Disney World in Florida for three years before moving to Chicago. She is currently pursuing a degree in Television Arts: Writing and Producing at Columbia College Chicago. She spends most of her time studying and working on her writing, producing, and directing skills. She has a great appreciation for comedic films and television, and hopes to one day be a part of making them herself.
Katrina Rossi is a new Chicago resident who made the big move from Rhode Island to start classes at The Second City. Comedic acting is her passion and she has appeared in dozens of plays and short films around New England. She also has a background in graphic design, having worked for Martha Langer of Pear Ink Design for 3 years. She is excited to grow as a performer while training at The Second City and experience all that Chicago has to offer. Katrina is thrilled to be a part of the CCFF team!
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.