Our Story

We believe in the power of television, film, and digital to tell stories that matter, and bring new audiences to important subjects. That’s why Johnny Webb and I founded Sundog Pictures in 2012.

And because the digital world is such a great way for storytellers to disrupt the way people think, act, share and engage, we wanted to create a different kind of production company; One based on ‘social production’, where engagement and ‘shareability’ were hardwired into the way we tell our stories.

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We want to change the way people watch- and share.

In 2012 we delivered our first terrestrial commission, Turtle Boy, for National Geographic USA and Channel 4. The combination of sensitive film-making, and social media engagement increased C4’s UK slot average by 75%.

That same year we welcomed former BBC Commissioner Sam Anthony as the company’s Creative Director. As the team of Sundog Pictures continued to grow – so did our ambitions.

Our next project was Breaking the Taboo, a searing feature-documentary indictment of the failed War on Drugs, featuring contributions from US Presidents Clinton and Carter, and narrated by Morgan Freeman.  But this time we tried something different. Google, not television, became our global partners for the film’s release, with 800,000 people viewing the film on Youtube in the first month in a unique premiere for a documentary.

Sundog added a Branded Documentary division to the business – bringing documentary skills to authentic stories in the brand world. Clients include Virgin Money, Jaguar Land Rover, Frontline and Virgin Trains.

Then, wind turbine manufacturers Vestas gave Sundog a year long commission to document the launch of global initiative Wind for Prosperity. Bringing our documentary storytelling skills to an incredibly real world project consisting of international TV doc and YouTube channel, we are committed to bring this story of business as a force for good to the mainstream.

In early 2014, Reggie Yates: Extreme South Africa airs on BBC3. Hailed by critics as “powerful” and “public service broadcasting at its best’, the series told new and surprising stories about Africa that burst the traditional myths surrounding the continent. It was our first series order, and found a brand new audience after it was also aired on BBC One in May.

Our second series, Inside Edinburgh Airport, aired soon after on BBC1, winning its 9pm slot on BBC1 with an audience share of 26 per cent.

More recently Bafta-winning filmmaker Ben Anthony has directed his first brand-funded documentaries with us, including a short film for Frontline – aimed at building esteem into the world of social work- and six beautifully told customer stories for Virgin Trains.

2015 got off to a great start with BBC3 ordering a second ‘Extreme’ series; ‘Reggie Yates: Extreme Russia’; this is our first returning series. Reggie immerses himself in some incredible stories from Far Right Groups and the cult of Putin to homophobia. Reggie was the third most watched programme on the BBC i-player for April, which the Guardian described as ‘Uncomfortable viewing, bravely handled by Yates and crew.’

We won a fantastic commission from Virgin Media Business to create a series of films for the Pitch to Rich Campaign. It’s a dream project with lots of ambition and the space to do something different with the award winning director Bruce Goodison. It’s been a huge hit online with more than 2 million views to the campaign. Watch the film here.

We were then proud to be highlighted in Broadcast Indie Survey as one of the Rising Stars of British TV!

We’ve moved! We are all absolutely in love with Farringdon. You must come and visit our new offices.

I get asked all the time about where the name came from. A few years ago I travelled to the Arctic on a three month 1,400 mile dogsled expedition to raise awareness for climate change. While I was there I saw my very first Sundog – a natural phenomenon where rainbows form around the sun – looking like an old camera lens.

The old spiritual meaning is that if you see a Sundog, you become more enlightened… well, whether you are spiritual or not we aim to enlighten our audiences through every story we tell!

Thanks for being part of Our Story

Sam Branson
Founder and chairman