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. When she is not creating or managing the fest she enjoys teaching improv with Sarah Hall Theatre Company. She has worked with youth for over 10 years mentoring and teaching filmmaking, acting, and improv workshops. In 2017 she will return to Southern California's Models of Pride LGBTQ conference as a workshop leader. 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 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.
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).
Carlos Hiciano is the Technical Manager for both Chicago Comedy Film Festival and our sister festival Chicago Independent Film (+TV) Festival. Carlos was born in New York City and grew up in several states in the northeast. He found his passion for filmmaking at a young age, creating short films and stop motion videos with his friends in high school. Carlos went to college in the Bronx at Lehman College of CUNY majoring in multimedia studies. Though he learned theory in school, he prides himself on being primarily self-taught and learning the craft of filmmaking through personal practice and working on various short films. He moved to Chicago 3 years ago and has spent time working on various productions . He currently works as a freelance filmmaker while working on his passion projects on his free time.
Tim Olson spent 8 years as CCFF's Technical Manager of the Chicago Comedy Film Festival and will be transitioning to our Tech Assistant in 2018. Tim worked as 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.
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.
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 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!