Television and production company Fremantle is the co-lead investor with James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems in a new round of equity financing for comics publisher Artists, Writers & Artisans (AWA), the companies announced.  The investment builds on the initial partnership established in 2022, when Fremantle signed a development deal with AWA to develop television projects based on AWA properties (see "AWA TV Development Deal").  The new investment gives AWA the benefit of Fremantle’s production expertise and distribution infrastructure.

Other investors in the round include long-term backers of AWA and individual investors with expertise in production, finance, sports, human rights, and technology, the companies said.  The size of the round was not disclosed.

AWA and Fremantle also announced that their first joint project will be the thriller Devil’s Highway, based on the comic by Benjamin Percy and Brent Schoonover about a woman whose pursuit of a sinister mystery leads her to the darker side of the long-haul trucking industry (see "Preview: ‘Devil’s Highway’").

Matthew Anderson (L), Andrea Scrosati (R)
"We admire how Fremantle has built on its long-standing strengths to become an international force in scripted drama and film," AWA Co-Chair and President Matthew Anderson said in a statement accompanying the announcement.  "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”

AWA raised $12.5 million from investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems in an initial round in 2018 and 2019 (see "AWA Raises Another $5 Million").  Independent studio Sister, founded by Elisabeth Murdoch, Stacey Snider and Jane Featherstone, invested in 2020.