Comics publisher/content producer Artists, Writers & Artisans, Inc. (AWA) and production house Fremantle have expanded their partnership via an investment from Fremantle, according to a release earlier today.
London-based Fremantle, the company behind everything like the worldwide smash Idol franchise and quality dramas like American Gods and The Young Pope, initially pacted with AWA in April 2022. That deal was to co-develop AWA-initiated projects, but the new deal makes Fremantle a minority owner of the company.
AWA’s current investors include James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, Elisabeth Murdoch’s SISTER, and Lightspeed Venture Partners, and 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.
According to the release, “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.” Further advantages include “unlocking the specialist expertise of the global content powerhouse, its infrastructure and its renowned international distribution footprint.”
The first of the unlockings is the joint development of Devil’s Highway, the comic from Benjamin Percy and Brent Schoonover. It’s described as a thriller about a woman investigating a mystery against the background of the long-haul trucking industry. Breaker breaker!
“We admire how Fremantle has built on its long-standing strengths to become an international force in scripted drama and film,” said Matthew Anderson, Co-Chair & President, AWA Studios. “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.”
“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,” added Andrea Scrosati, Group COO, and Continental CEO, Fremantle. “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.”
AWA’s c-suite includes Co-founder & Chief Creative Officer Axel Alonso, and the AWA Studios division, led by president Zach Studin, co-founder and co-chair Jon Miller and Anderson.
AWA comics are from an A-list of creators including Garth Ennis, J, Michael Straczynski, Bryan Edward Hill, Goran Sudzuka, Christa Faust, Dan Panosian, Dalibor Talajić and and many more. Projects under media development include:
- Chariot by Bryan Edward Hill and Priscilla Petraites feature film at WB
- Marjorie Finnegan: Temporal Criminal by Garth Ennis and Goran Sudzuka, with Ruben Fleischer attached to direct
- Hotell by John Lees and Dalibor Talajic, to be directed by Elle Callahan.
Last year, AWA formed a Creative Council including Reginald Hudlin, Gregg Hurwitz, Laeta Kalogridis, Joseph Kosinski, Al Madrigal and J. Michael Straczynski to help incubate even more ideas and projects.