Fremantle makes minority investment in AWA Studios

Kicking off with the development of the thriller, "Devil’s Highway," the expanded partnership is said to have the potential to strengthen Fremantle's strategic input and investment.


Fremantle has made a minority investment in AWA Studios. "We are strengthening our creative partnership and making a strategic minority investment in Artists, Writers & Artisans, Inc. (AWA), a leading independent developer of bold and relevant stories from some of the world’s most outstanding creative talent working across graphic fiction, film and television," a recent press release states. "AWA’s innovative development model provides world-class editorial partnership, dedicated film & TV development expertise and the long-term economic stake creators desire and deserve."

The expanded partnership was led by Andrea Scrosati, Fremantle’s Group COO and CEO Continental Europe, and Matthew Anderson, Co-Chair and President of AWA. AWA counts with the support of Lupa Systems, Lightspeed Venture Partners and SISTER. Marvel alum Axel Alonso serves as Co-founder & Chief Creative Officer overseeing editorial output. The first project Fremantle and AWA will develop for the joint development slate is "Devil’s Highway," a thriller based on the successful 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 investment represents an advancement from the initial partnership made between Fremantle and AWA in April 2022, which consisted of a co-developing deal, forming a slate of TV projects based on AWA’s rapidly expanding IP library. Along with Lupa Systems, Fremantle has co-led the investment round alongside new capital from long-term backers of AWA and various of strategic individual investors with expertise in production, finance, sports, human rights and technology. "AWA Studios, AWA’s film and TV arm, will benefit from our strategic input and investment, whilst also unlocking our specialist expertise, infrastructure and renowned international distribution footprint," the company affirms.

“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," Andrea Scrosati, Group COO, and Continental CEO, Fremantle, said. "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 established its film and TV operation, kicked off by the announcement of 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 efforts. Some of the majority stakes it made last year include  in Eureka, Label, Element Pictures, Dancing Ledge Productionss, Lux Vide, 72 Films, Wildstar Films, Silvio Productions and a minority stake in Fabel Entertainment.“We admire how Fremantle has built on its long-standing strengths to become an international force in scripted drama and film," Matthew Anderson, Co-Chair & President, AWA Studios, said. "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.”