Remembrances, and the Road Ahead

On behalf of Susan Zeller's family and all of us at RealScreen, I would like to offer our deepest thanks to those of you who reached out to us following Susan's passing.
January 1, 2004

On behalf of Susan Zeller’s family and all of us at RealScreen, I would like to offer our deepest thanks to those of you who reached out to us following Susan’s passing. Your donations to the fund for her son Evan, the flowers, and the hundreds of condolences we’ve received from around the world are a testament to the legacy that Susan has left behind. Susan’s love of the magazine and the international documentary community was evident to all those who knew her, and we can only hope that she died knowing even a fraction of the admiration and respect that was returned to her.

In a time of such profound shock and sorrow, your notes have provided us with consolation and a fiercer pride of our dear, dear friend Susan. As many of you came to know Susan through her words, so too have we come to know many of you better through yours. The network of friends and colleagues surrounding RealScreen is profound, and for that we are thankful.

Susan’s death touched us as we neared completion of this issue and left us scrambling to find a way in which we could pay her tribute. We could easily have published page after page of your notes, our collective memories and her favorite pieces, but it became obvious that to truly honor her we must publish the issue as you see it, complete with many of her final story ideas and assignments, and continue in 2004 to push forward evolving the magazine to meet your needs.

In the next couple of issues you’ll see some new standard features in the magazine including: Programming (a look at a broadcaster with a shift in non-fiction programming strategy), Money (topics related to financing, fund-raising and revenue-generation), CloseUp (a spotlight on producers and/or filmmakers who have recently made a mark), Beyond the Box (topics related to developing the business beyond the tv production, such as ancillary products, marketing techniques and new outlets for programs), and Insider Trading (a regular column in which industry experts share their specialist knowledge on a topic of interest to non-fiction producers). Also, we are adding regular technology coverage in the Upfront section to flag innovation in production, post equipment and processes – such as cameras, film stock, lenses, hardware and software – relevant to the non-fiction community.

As we move into the new year, we look forward to continuing to offer you insight into market trends, financial strategies and industry issues, as well as news about upcoming doc productions, recent events, people moves and innovations. I also hope to see many of you at next month’s RealScreen Summit in Arlington, U.S. If you haven’t registered yet, call Sharlene at 416-408-2300, or sign up online at

Best wishes for a joyous and successful new year.

Donna MacNeil


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