Documentary veteran, Jess Search, has died aged 54 from brain cancer.

Search, co founder and director of The Doc Society, passed away on Sunday surrounded by her friends and family.

Friends and colleagues at The Doc Society published the following letter.

Yesterday morning, our dear Jess Search died peacefully in London, England, from brain cancer. She was surrounded by the love of her life Beadie Finzi, their children Ella and Ben, and friends. As a fierce supporter of independent artists and co-founder of Doc Society, Jess spent the weeks following her diagnosis focused on her passions laid out in her recent announcement, No Time Like the Present. Her greatest wish was to continue to secure the Doc Society mission of unleashing the transformational power of documentary film to address the two critical and intertwined issues of climate change and democracies in crisis.

Jess lived fully these last few weeks. In characteristic humour, she responded to her diagnosis by considering herself a “Lucky Fucker,” having lived a life of purpose on her own terms. She continued to send late-night voice memos, order rounds of margaritas, and bring together an amalgam of global comrades around the shared mission of vital system-shifting narrative work to change the world for the better. To the horror of some, she did all this while sporting a pair of hot pink Crocs, with socks and jibbitz, in glorious contrast to her trademark white suit she rocked at Good Pitches all over the world.

Jess and her loved ones have been immersed in all the shared memories and love from friends, family and the community since the news of her diagnosis. We have been exchanging poetry and share with you one on the top of her rotation, David Whyte reading his poem Santiago.

A beloved partner and parent, a brilliant friend, an industry catalyst, master campaigner, consummate producer, preternatural public convener, and mentor to many – 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. We consider ourselves to be Lucky Fuckers to stand beside all of you.

Thank you Jess, we love you. Always.

Megha Agrawal Sood, Shanida Scotland, Sandra Whipham and Maxyne Franklin

P.S. A celebration of all things Jess loves will be planned in the coming months. Memories and messages to her loved ones can be shared at

Before founding the Doc Society, she was a Commissioning Editor at Channel 4 and a founder of Shooting People, the online filmmakers network. She was also a board member of the UK think tank IPPR and has an MBA from Cass Business School. Jess also moderated for IDFA, the Skoll World Forum, the Trust Women conference and Doc Society’s Good Pitch.

Jon Creamer

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