MEET OUR TEAM
Hello, thanks for stopping by!
Founded in 2014 by Erica Duffy, Camera Ambassador is one of only three equipment rental houses nationwide owned and operated by a woman. Her vision was to create a vibrant community of artists by providing high-quality film equipment and top-notch service paired with genuine support of their productions.
Camera Ambassador is a one-stop shop, carrying everything from cameras and lenses to grip trucks and production supplies. Their equipment roster includes high-end brands such as Arri, Red, Canon, Cooke, Zeiss, O’Connor, Small HD, Teradek, and more. They’ve also got you covered with specialty items such as anamorphic lenses, gimbals, and grip trucks.
While supporting clients through equipment rentals is their main focus, Camera Ambassador is much more than that. They offer monthly workshops & feedback sessions, host screenings, promote filmmakers, provide internships, and fund the annual Community Builders Grant. When walking into the shop, you can often be greeted by the shop dog, met with a warm smile, and take a moment to kick back at their snack bar before prepping your rental. Camera Ambassador loves getting to know their clients and supporting them in all areas of development and creation.
Meet Our Core Team
Our core team members are the nuts and bolts that make Camera Ambassador possible! Each team member has unique and diverse skills that bring a special and welcoming vibe to the Camera Ambassador studio.
Erica Duffy, Founder & CEO
Erica Duffy (she/her) is the mama bear of the whole operation. Erica loves connecting with clients, collaborators, and people alike. She is very active in the Chicago film community and recently accepted the role as Executive Director of The Midwest Film Festival. Along with being an aerial yoga enthusiast, she is an incredible trip planner and was likely a world renowned travel agent in a former life.
Ellen Partain, Rentals Manager
Ellen (she/her) is the smiling face and warm voice of Camera Ambassador. She’s a master organizer who loves to help clients find the best combination of gear within their budget. When she's not at Camera Ambassador, she enjoys arts of many mediums including drawing, painting, designing handmade cards, and decorating.
Eric Silver, Lead Tech
Hailing from Philadelphia with the mane of an angel, Eric (he/him) is the Tech Lead at Camera Ambassador. When he's not breaking a sweat in the tech department, he works as a Movi Operator and Camera Assistant. Eric spends his free time photographing his life in the city and capturing much needed headshots of his cat, Luna.
Tin Nguyen, Rental Tech
Tin (he/him) joined the team at Camera Ambassador in 2020 and brought a vast expertise of knowledge to our tech department. He attending Columbia College and received a MFA in film directing. A Texas native, he enjoys taking trips home to visit his parents, spending time with his adorable dog, playing spike ball, and collaborating with other filmmakers. He is a self proclaimed proud husband and geek, which makes us love him even more!
Austin Taylor, Creative Director
Gimbal guru, Movi Maniac, Stabilizer Stud: Austin (he/him) is a man with many skills. He started out with Camera Ambassador as a tech, but with his keen eye for design, he started working in the marketing department and is now the Creative Director. Additionally, he runs his business Midwest Movi. In his free time, Austin enjoys cooking and playing music.
Dominique Chestand, Head of Marketing
Relatively new to the film world, Dominique (she/her) has worked as an artist, educator, and arts administrator for organizations such as Young Chicago Authors, the Danish Arts Council, the Los Angeles Dance Project, the Chicago Park District, Redmoon Theater and Adventure Stage. In 2018, Dominique began working as a crew member for indie film productions. Since then, she has worked as a 1st and 2nd AD, Production Assistant, and Production Coordinator.
Connor A. Smith, Designer
Connor (he/they) is an Arkansas-native, Chicago-based actor, director, & producer. With a formal background in anthropology (University of Arkansas) and acting (BlackBox Academy, iO, & Annoyance), Connor really loves people and creating humanistic work regardless of medium. Though, they’re a bit obsessed with film history & criticism with a tendency to watch a-movie-a-day. This enthusiasm is at the core of Prairie Creek, a boutique production company that they co-operate, when not working at CA!
Named for her cool and creamy vibes, Cashew acts as Camera Ambassador's mascot and pup-in-charge. As a connoisseur of Chicago's film industry, Cashew knows just what filmmakers need while in the studio: a hot doggy breath full of love and some of the best cuddles this city has to offer.
Willow, Assistant To Mascot
Known for whipping her ears back and forth, Willow is an expert in carrying sticks thrice her size. While Willow loves her position as assistant to the mascot, she sees her role as merely a stepping stone towards her real dream: directing and starring in the reboot of the iconic 1996 family drama, Shiloh.
Meet Our Day Players
Camera Ambassador is proud to support and collaborate with some of Chicago's finest filmmakers. Our day players work with us in the shop and out in the field. They save the day when we need extra hands and represent Camera Ambassador on a daily basis.
Meet Our Current Interns
Camera Ambassador is proud to facilitate an environment that fosters professional and personal growth. We partner with many local schools to offer college credit. In addition to our core curriculum, we customize each internship based upon the individuals goals, interests, and skills. We don't currently have any interns on our team due to keeping the amount of people in the shop to essentials only.