Photo: Joe Maza | Bravelux

Photo: Joe Maza | Bravelux

Brenda Webb | Chicago Filmmakers

Brenda Webb is the Executive Director of Chicago Filmmakers, where she started out as Program Director in 1978. In 1981, she founded Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival, the second oldest festival of its kind in the world, for which she was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame as a “Friend of the Community.” She was among the top 10 on a list of the 50 most influential people in the Chicago film community in Newcity’s “Film 50 2017: Chicago’s Screen Gems.” In addition to her work at Chicago Filmmakers, she has served on the boards of the National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture and the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, and was a founding board member of the Chicago chapter of Women in Film.


Josh Chicoine | Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMMfest)

Following many years as a touring and recording musician, member of the Chicago band, the M’s, having played some of the more storied venues and festivals in the country, Josh co-founded the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival, CIMMfest in 2008 (now Chicago International Movies and Music, NFP) serving as Executive, Artistic Director and Chief Development Officer. CIMMfest became one of the most anticipated festivals of the year attracting thousands of attendees and showcasing thousands of artists.  

Along with producing events through CIMM year-round, he now works with businesses, startups, and brands as a consultant and event and content producer through Chico Projects. His work as an ardent propagator of culture and supporter of artists, filmmakers, and musicians continues to be the focus of his professional life.

Josh continues to write and record music in several projects and as a solo musician.  His first solo recording will be released in the Summer of 2019.


Ellen Placey Wadey | Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation

Ellen joined the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation in 2013. She was executive director of the Guild Complex – a literary arts organization – for seven years and in that time built the Guild’s impressive artistic accomplishments on a firm foundation of organizational development. Before that, Ellen was the director of marketing and development for the Marwen Foundation. Before joining the Foundation, she was an independent fundraising coach, serving a number arts organizations including the Chicago Cultural Alliance and the Ragdale Foundation. She has reviewed arts proposals on behalf of Prince Charitable Trust and served as a jurist or panelist for the likes of the Illinois Arts Council and the Third Coast Festival New Audio Competition. An accomplished writer, Ellen has two advanced degrees in fiction writing, is the recipient of the Scott Turow Fiction Prize and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.




Dr. Susan Kerns | Chicago Feminist Film Festival

Dr. Susan Kerns is an Associate Professor of Cinema and Television Arts at Columbia College Chicago and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Chicago Feminist Film Festival. She produced the documentary Manlife, wrote the screenplay for Little Red, and has produced or directed numerous award-winning short films. Susan has spoken about film festivals and distribution at industry panels including SXSW, Art House Convergence, University Film and Video Association, and the European Network for Cinema and Media Studies, and she recently published an article on women’s and feminist film festivals in Routledge’s Handbook of Contemporary Feminism. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.