The Oxford-based unit of the multi-award winning UK independent TV sports production and media company Sunset+Vine, has revealed a series of significant appointments set to strengthen the company’s sailing output and overall production offering, as joint managing director Richard Simmonds continues to recover from illness.
Richard became unwell on 27th September 2013 and was diagnosed with Cerebral Vasculitis where the arteries of his brain were inflamed and which resulted in two strokes. The illness is exceptionally rare and there is no diagnosis of what caused it to occur. After three weeks in an induced coma and a further period in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, Richard's recovery has been based at his home and with treatment at the hospital. From a medical perspective these are still early days in the recovery but so far progress has been really encouraging. Richard is looking forward to being back working, as soon as the medical team that have been managing his recovery recommend this.
Jonathan Edwards has been appointed to the role of Head of Performance Sailing. Edwards was most recently a producer at the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco and will bring that experience and knowledge into Sunset+Vine|APP’s sailing output where he heads up the live production of the Extreme Sailing Series. Also joining the company is double Olympic sailing gold medallist, Shirley Robertson OBE, as Associate Producer. Robertson joins at a busy time as the company prepares for the lead up to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, for which Sunset+Vine|APP is Host Broadcaster. Sister company Sunset+Vine International is the global distribution partner.
Sunset+Vine|APP has also confirmed the creation of a specialist Women’s Sports unit to be headed up by Lisa Hynes, a former Head of News at the company. Hynes re-joins the company after a stint with Landmark Films where she was a Senior Producer. Robertson will have a dual role of supporting Lisa in the development of the women's sports business.
The creation of the new department comes in the light of several significant wins for Sunset+Vine|APP over the past 12 months that have included commissions from BBC Sport to produce coverage of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2013 as well as England’s five home matches in the current Women’s World Cup qualifiers. The Women’s Sport Unit is working with federations, athletes and broadcasters to develop a road map that will broaden the appeal of women’s TV sport to viewers, advertisers and sponsors alike.
In a fourth appointment Chris Luke, former producer of Sunset+Vine’s motorsport programming moves across to Sunset+Vine|APP as Editorial Director. Luke will assume responsibility for overall output for existing productions of Women’s Football, Women’s World Cup qualifiers, CNN Mainsail and Sea Master Sailing. Sarah Greene remains in position as Head of Production.
Andrew Preece, Managing Director of Sunset+Vine|APP said: 'The past twelve months have been significant ones for our business. Major wins of the Volvo Ocean Race and of Women’s football set into motion plans to broaden the base of our offering from which we are already experiencing additional growth and new opportunities. Attracting talent like Shirley Robertson to Sunset+Vine|APP and enticing Lisa Hynes back is a great vote of confidence in the team. This, coupled with securing the editorial and story-telling expertise of Chris Luke and the top level America’s Cup experience of Jonathan Edwards, makes our proposition stronger than ever.'
The end of last year was not an easy time for the team though, Preece added: 'Of course, these exciting developments are tempered by the on-going absence of Richard Simmonds, co-founder and very well known face and voice of Sunset+Vine|APP from Day One. Since he was suddenly taken ill last September, Richard has been showing steady signs of recovery and has retained a keen interest in the business developments. We, of course, miss him greatly and look forward to welcoming him back in the future, when he is ready.'
In further re-structuring a new entity, Sunset+Vine|Motion, has been formed to deliver titles sequences, films and commercials for high-end clients and brands. Clients already secured include Nespresso’s America’s Cup Film Series, The Ryder Cup and V&A Fashion Show as well as some upcoming major sports broadcast titles sequences.