This week, Jess Search, the cofounder of British nonprofit Doc Society, died of a brain tumor. She was 54, and her diagnosis came swiftly, unexpectedly, just weeks ago. When she found out, she stepped down from her various industry roles, sending a vibrant letter saying that she was "extremely calm," had everything she needed, and was surrounded by love.
If you haven’t heard of Jess — she pioneered a lot in the doc world. She co-founded Doc Society, which has supported and funded a multitude of independent films and initiatives for over two decades. She was filled with joy and on a mission to help others use story to inspire and impact audiences in a big way.
Incredible people leave the world every day. And Jess's abrupt death hits hard: she was doing so much, living with so much purpose, until, suddenly, she wasn't.
This world of ours seems to get crazier, noisier, and more disordered every day. Wars continue, social fabrics are fraying, tech is taking over our lives, strikes are stopping industries, stress is a prevailing feeling, and the hamster wheel can feel like it just. won't. stop.
And yet, here we are, living in this world that can also be a beautiful and magical place. Jess, in unexpectedly leaving with a trail of passion and generosity behind her, reminds us of the preciousness of each and every moment that we have. As the saying goes, you never know what's waiting around the corner. Amidst all the emails, the unending to do lists, the meetings, the urge to fill the space, let us take a moment to stop, and pause, and think — am I valuing my time? Am I truly living? Is there balance here?
Let this be a reminder to give yourself a pat on the back to say, no matter what, that you’re doing great — because you are. At VC, we are grateful to each and every one of you. Today, step outside, take your earbuds out, and listen to the birds. Look up at the clouds, and marvel. Hug a loved one consciously, presently. And let us remember that we each have this time, and that every moment really and truly is a gift.
Thank you, Jess, for what you did for the industry, and for leaving with an edict for the rest to continue your joy and passion — and have gratitude and gentleness towards each other and to ourselves, here and now.