Board of Directors

SHARON ZUREK, President
Board President, Chicago Filmmakers; Owner, Black Cat Productions: Professor of Instruction, Columbia College Chicago
Sharon Zurek is an award-winning producer and editor with an extensive background in production and postproduction. She specializes in working on independent features and social issue documentaries, especially those focusing on strong women and queer content. Zurek is the co-founder and curator of the popular monthly screening series Dyke Delicious @ Chicago Filmmakers that started in 2003. She is a Professor of Instruction at Columbia College Chicago in Cinema and Television Arts where she prepares her students for a professional career in post-production. Zurek received her B.A. from Columbia College Chicago.

 
LAURA PATRELL, Treasurer
Strategic Marketing, M Strategy Group, Inc.
Laura brings her strategic marketing and project management experience to Chicago Filmmakers. An avid arts supporter, Laura was a founding member of the Dayton Arts Alliance-Young Professionals organization in Dayton, Ohio.  In her current position, Laura is responsible for marketing and sales channel management, development of strategic marketing plans, web analytics and partnership opportunities for US and global clients. Previously, she had spent more than ten years in the computer industry focused on marketing and business development, both in the United States and Germany.  She received her BA in International Business and German from Alma College and her MBA education from the University of Dayton.
 
GAYLON EMERZIAN
A native Chicagoan, Gaylon has always believed the city, with its architecture and history, is a powerful place to make media. She engages in every aspect of the filmmaking process and utilizes her passion, inventiveness and resourcefulness to constantly challenge herself as a producer. An Emmy award-winning editor and multiple award-winning writer/director, she has done work for National Geographic, A&E, the History Channel, and the Field Museum of Natural History to name a few. She has melded her media-making career with organizing and social activism: co-founding Women in the Director's Chair Film Festival. She joined forces with producer Roger Brown in 1987 to become a partner at Trillium Productions, LLC, where she is now Chief Creative Officer. 
Gaylon is constantly pushing the envelope, finding new ways to express her creativity. Early on, she recognized the potential in video for web programming. The leap of faith paid off when the webcast she created, Spatulatta.com, received the James Beard Award—the culinary equivalent of the Academy Awards. 
 
ERICKA FREDERICK
bio forthcoming
 
MANUELA HUNG 
bio forthcoming
 
RICHARD KNIGHT JR. 
bio forthcoming
 
GARY NOVAK
bio forthcoming
 
CAROL SCHAFFNER
Freelance Post Production Supervisor
Post-Production Instructor, Columbia College Chicago
Carol Schaffner is a freelance Post Production Supervisor for independent films. She teaches post-production at Columbia College Chicago and is currently editing her first documentary, A Life By Accident. Previously she worked as Digital Intermediate Coordinator at Filmworkers/Astro Lab and Post Producer/Account Executive at i^3. Prior to that she worked for the video distributor MS Distributing and for the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research. Carol received her BFA at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.
 
SHARON WALKER
General Manager, Panavision Chicago
Sharon has worked in the motion picture industry for over 25 years in both Chicago and Los Angeles. During her career she worked briefly as a camera assistant and production
coordinator. The majority of her career she has happily spent at Panavision. She has had various roles within Panavision ranging from Director of Technical Standards to Director of 3D Product Management. Her most recent and most gratifying role has been re-opening the Panavision Chicago location with a talented and seasoned staff. She has a BA from Columbia College Chicago, a PMP certification from Villanova and a CPT certification from NASM. She currently serves on the Board of AICP Midwest and looks forward to supporting Chicago Filmmakers and the regional production community in whatever ways possible.
 
BRENDA WEBB
Executive Director, Chicago Filmmakers
Brenda Webb has been with Chicago Filmmakers since July 1978. She began as Program Director and became Executive Director in 1985. Prior to that she worked as an educational film editor at Treeflower Films in Chicago and taught in the Film Dept. at Columbia College Chicago. She has served on the Board of the National Alliance of Media Arts and Culture and the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers, and was a founding board member for the Chicago chapter of Women in Film. She has served as a grants panelist for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting as well as for several foundations and government funding agencies. She is founder of Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Indiana University.