Fremantle is taking a minority investment in Artists, Writers & Artisans, Inc. (AWA),  a developer of “bold and relevant stories from some of the world’s most outstanding creative talent working across graphic fiction, film and television.”

The investment is a deepening of the initial partnership made between Fremantle and AWA in April 2022, which saw the companies come together to collaborate on co-developing a slate of TV projects based on AWA’s expanding IP library. Fremantle and Lupa Systems co-led the investment round alongside new capital from long-term backers of AWA and a number of strategic individual investors with expertise in production, finance, sports, human rights and technology.

AWA is backed by Lupa Systems, Lightspeed Venture Partners and SISTER. Marvel alum Axel Alonso serves as Co-founder & Chief Creative Officer overseeing editorial output. In 2021, the company established AWA Studios, its film and TV division, helmed by Hollywood veteran Zach Studin as President. Matthew Anderson, Co-Chair and President, and Jon Miller, Co-Founder and Co-Chair, lead AWA’s executive team.

The first project on the joint development slate is Devil’s Highway, a thriller based on the comic series by Benjamin Percy and Brent Schoonover in which a young woman seeks to unravel a sinister mystery hidden in the dark underbelly of the long-haul trucking industry.

The expanded partnership was spearheaded by Andrea Scrosati, Fremantle’s Group COO and CEO Continental Europe, and Matthew Anderson, Co-Chair and President of AWA.

Matthew Anderson, Co-Chair & President, AWA Studios, said: “We admire how Fremantle has built on its long-standing strengths to become an international force in scripted drama and film. AWA’s success is built on collaborating with our creators to publish their stories in their purest form and then steering them to their fullest potential in film and TV. Andrea and the Fremantle team share this ethos and we are delighted for the unique opportunities this partnership will provide to our creators.”

Andrea Scrosati, Group COO, and Continental CEO, Fremantle, added: “We are delighted to extend our successful partnership with AWA. The collaboration is a perfect strategic fit, giving AWA access to our global footprint, distribution infrastructure and production expertise and putting Fremantle at the very forefront of graphic fiction innovation. I also look forward working closely with Matthew and their world class leadership and creative teams to continue pushing boundaries and building a slate of ground-breaking projects together.”

Since its launch, AWA Studios has announced feature film adaptations of Chariot by Bryan Edward Hill and Priscilla Petraites, which Warner Bros. acquired in competitive bidding; Marjorie Finnegan: Temporal Criminal by Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka, which Ruben Fleischer will direct; and Hotell by John Lees and Dalibor Talajic, to be directed by Elle Callahan, among many additional projects currently  in active development.

In December, AWA formed a Creative Council including luminaries Reginald Hudlin, Gregg Hurwitz, Laeta Kalogridis, Joseph Kosinski, Al Madrigal and J. Michael Straczynski to help guide the company on complex creative matters and nurture ideas across a range of platforms.

The minority investment in AWA is the latest in Fremantle’s investment activity, which in 2022 saw the company take majority stakes in Eureka (Parental Guidance, Holey Moley), Label 1 (Five Dates a Week, Hospital), Element Pictures (Normal People, The Wonder, Conversations With Friends), Dancing Ledge Productions (The Salisbury Poisonings, The Responder), Lux Vide (Devils, Medici) 72 Films (9/11: One Day in America, All or Nothing: Arsenal), Wildstar Films (America the Beautiful, America’s National Parks), Silvio Productions (Buried, The Baby Daddy) and a minority stake in Fabel Entertainment (Bosch).

Jon Creamer

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