Jess Search, Doc Society Co-Founder, Dies at 54

Jess Search, producer and co-founder of U.K.’s Doc Society, has died. She was 54.

Search died in London on July 31 following a brain tumor diagnosis in early June.

Search was a near two-decade member and co-founder of the U.K. based Doc Society, a non-profit organization started in 2005 dedicated to producing and funding documentaries from around the world.

A month after the diagnosis of her brain tumor, Search announced on Doc Society’s website that she’d be stepping down from her director position. In her note, Search wrote “Today I am sharing that I’m currently under the care of a neurosurgeon because like 300,000 others every year around the world, I’ve been diagnosed with a brain tumor. I’m stepping back from Doc Society — after 18 years of nonstop creative collaboration, dedicated craft, joyous partying and fierce camaraderie.”

She continued, “You may know that for years six women directors – Beadie, Maxyne, Megha, Sandra, Shanida, and myself – have been leading the organization in a flat power-sharing model. So I can do this, knowing that someone else will step in to be unfeasibly late for meetings and break the printer constantly.”

Search signed off her note to the Doc Society community with a succinct poem by Gary Snyder that reads, “To climb these coming crests, one word to you, to you and your children: stay together, learn the flowers, go light.”

Throughout her career, Search has worked on documentaries like “Virunga,” “Dirty Wars,” “Living With the Tudors” and “Queendom.”

Doc Society will continue to be led by Search’s close friends, directors Megha Sood, Shanida Scotland, Sandra Whipham, Beadie Finzi and Maxyne Franklin.

In a joint statement, the five directors wrote,“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.”

Search is survived by her partner, Finzi, and their two children, Ella and Ben.

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