Jess Search Dies: Documentary producer

Veteran British documentary filmmaker Jess Search, who also co-founded the Doc Society, passed away at the age of 54 from brain cancer.

When Search passed away, her partner Beadie Finzi, their kids Ella and Ben, and friends were by her side, according to a statement released by the Doc Society Wednesday.

A “cherished partner and parent, a brilliant friend, an industry catalyst, a master campaigner, an accomplished producer, a preternatural public convener, and mentor to many,” according to the statement.

“Jess leaves a global family who we know will continue to speak out against injustice, challenge the status quo, and live lives of purpose with love in their hearts,” the statement continued. We think it’s “Lucky F***er” to be standing next to all of you.

The Doc Society’s ability to produce documentaries addressing “the two critical and intertwined issues of climate change and democracies in crisis” was said to be her last request, according to her coworkers.

In a statement confirming Search’s passing, the Doc Society said: “Jess lived completely these final few weeks. She replied to the diagnosis with her trademark wit, calling herself a “Lucky Fucker” for leading a meaningful life under her own terms.

She persisted in making late-night voice memos, ordering rounds of margaritas, and assembling a diverse group of international allies behind the goal of crucial system-shifting narrative work to improve the world.

To the horror of some, she carried out all of this while wearing hot pink Crocs, socks, and jibbitz, in dazzling contrast to her signature white suit that she wore to Good Pitches all over the world.

The organisation announced that a memorial service for Search would be scheduled soon.

“Jess leaves a global family who we know will continue to speak out on injustice, challenge the status quo, and live lives of purpose with love in their hearts. She was a beloved partner and parent, a brilliant friend, an industry catalyst, a master campaigner, consummate producer, preternatural public convener, and mentor to many. We think it’s a lucky coincidence that we get to stand next to you all.

She produced notable films with strong messages that won Oscars and were nominated for Baftas. She fought for them and brought about their realisation. She battled for the industry, and now it’s up to us to pick up the baton and keep making films that inspire and move audiences.

Last month, Search declared her sickness, stating that her organisation used a flat power-sharing format and that its operations will continue under the leadership of her five co-leaders. With a passage from Marcus Aurelius and a playlist of her favourite songs, she finished off by stating that she was “extremely calm and have literally everything I need.”

She urged the documentary-making community to “triple-down and build rocket boosters for our shared work” in her farewell statement. Additionally, she urged the creation of “a new, equitable, and politically protected indie media distribution system” with the assistance of distributors, financiers, and commissioners.

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