Film4 deputy director and industry titan Sue Bruce-Smith has died following a battle with cancer. She was 62.
Bruce-Smith had been receiving treatment for cancer at home in Dublin, Ireland, with the support of her family. She died Saturday morning, Film4 confirmed to Variety.
Bruce-Smith, a well-respected figure in the British film industry, spent 20 years of her career at Film4, having first joined the organization in 1997 following stints at the BFI, where she was head of international sales, and BBC Worldwide, where she served as marketing and distribution manager. She began her career at Palace Pictures in 1985 as print and marketing manager.
In 2001, Bruce-Smith relocated with her family to Dublin, and joined independent producer Little Bird. She returned to Film4 in 2004. Most recently, in 2017, Bruce-Smith was appointed deputy director of Film4 by director Daniel Battsek.
Her recent credits as deputy director have included “The Favourite” and “The Little Stranger.” Previously, as head of commercial and brand strategy, she oversaw the launches of films including “The Killing of a Sacred Deer,” “High-Rise,” “Suffragette,” “The Lobster,” “Frank” and “12 Years a Slave.”
In 2019, BAFTA celebrated Bruce-Smith’s career with a special Tribute event that recognized her wide-ranging contributions to the industry.
Upon receiving her BAFTA Special Award, Bruce-Smith said: “I’m hugely honored. It is lovely and also surprising to be acknowledged, having spent much of my career trying not to be noticed.”
She added: “Don’t be afraid of embarking on something new. Throw yourself into the work, ask plenty of questions and make sure you work with people who both inspire you and bring out the best in you.”
In a memo to staff sent Sunday afternoon, Film4 director Battsek called Bruce-Smith “quite simply the best ally to have in your corner, personally and professionally. Words really can’t express how much I will miss her.”
Battsek said: “Sue’s knowledge and skillset spanned finance, production, marketing, distribution and sales. Her reputation was second to none, and she was a key element of Film4’s relationships with our partners and stakeholders, playing an integral role in many of our most successful and iconic films.
“Sue was the epitome of the ‘do it or it doesn’t get done’ mindset of Palace, and while she expanded her repertoire and developed her knowledge of the business over the course of her career, her attributes throughout were that she was adept, shrewd, reasonable, a great negotiator, and a very warm and real human being,” Battsek continued.
Bruce-Smith’s family is to hold a private service for her. Film4 will announce plans to commemorate Bruce-Smith in the coming weeks.