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Elspeth Tavares, Founding Journalist Behind ‘The Business of Film,’ Dies at 73

The award-winning film and TV journalist is also a founding member of Women in Film, London

Elspeth Tavares – founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief of The Business of Film, an independent film industry trade publication of over 40 years – died this week peacefully in her London home following a short illness. She was 71.

An award-winning journalist, member of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and founding member of Women in Film, London, Tavares is survived by her son and grandson.

Remembered as a larger-than-life personality and trailblazer, Tavares founded The Business of Film in 1980. At that time, she was already well into her widely regarded publishing and journalism career, which began at The Observer in London. While at The Observer, Tavares learned the ropes of the printing and advertising sales business, which prepared her to transition and begin her tenure at Screen International, a prominent film trade newspaper in the U.K. There, she rose to become its managing director.

She’s credited today with restructuring and advancing the publication as a highly profitable enterprise. The successes she brought to Screen International later helped attract an acquisition from a prominent U.K. publishing house.

Tavares’ expertise in both newspaper publishing and the international film industry then propelled her to create The Business of Film, which was based in London and Los Angeles. As the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief, Tavares embraced new technologies and shaped The Business of Film as the first international trade paper to move to total electronic delivery and introduced online interactivity between advertisers and readers. 

Along with founding The Business of Film, Tavares founded The Women’s International Film and Television Showcase (The WIFTS) to celebrate and recognize outstanding women contributing to the field. An annual awards ceremony was hosted in Los Angeles from 2008–2019.