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Jess Search, Documentary Champion Driven by Film’s Transformative Power, Dies at 54

HeadlineAug 11, 2023

Jess Search, award-winning producer and co-founder of Doc Society, has died at 54 after a battle with brain cancer. The visionary filmmaker was a champion of documentary film, which she believed had the power to change the world, often telling others, “If you are going to move people to act, first you have to move them.” During her 18 years at Doc Society, formerly BritDoc, the organization supported such films as Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning “Citizenfour” about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. More recently, Jess Search was an executive producer on the acclaimed “While We Watched” by director Vinay Shukla, about journalist Ravish Kumar, who took on Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Lucy Walker was one of many who paid tribute to Search, saying, “She championed so many underdogs — because she loved them. She knew their potential because she’d once been the underdog.” Jess Search is survived by her wife, filmmaker Beadie Finzi, and their two children.

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