By Manori Ravindran, Variety

AWA Fremantle

Fremantle has struck a strategic development deal with AWA Studios, the film and television division of AWA (Artists, Writers & Artisans).

The deal will allow Fremantle and AWA Studios to collaborate and co-develop a slate of TV projects based on AWA’s expanding IP library. The graphic fiction publisher and entertainment studio was founded in 2018 by Marvel alumni Bill Jemas and Axel Alonso, and Jon Miller.

Under the pact, the two companies will collaborate closely on “all aspects” of the partnership, with Fremantle leading on raising production finance and funding the development of projects. Fremantle will also run studio efforts and execute physical productions as well as handle international distribution for all projects launched.

AWA is backed by James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, SISTER, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. In early 2021, the company established AWA Studios, its Film and TV division, helmed by Hollywood veteran Zach Studin as president, who will oversee the partnership with Fremantle.

Since its 2021 launch, AWA Studios has launched a film adaptation of Bryan Edward Hill’s graphic novel “Chariot,” which was acquired by Warner Bros. with Joseph Kosinski (“Top Gun: Maverick”) attached to direct. Julian Meiojas (“Jack Ryan”) will adapt and 21 Laps (“Free Guy”) will produce in partnership with AWA.

The company’s roster of graphic fiction talent includes J. Michael Straczynski, Frank Cho, Mike Deodato and Garth Ennis.

Studin, AWA Studios president, said: “Fremantle’s unparalleled success in creating global hits and their commitment to artists makes them an ideal partner for AWA Studios. This cutting-edge partnership with Fremantle continues the AWA Studios mission on behalf of our artists, writers, and artisans – to bring their extraordinary stories to global audiences with world class stewardship. We look forward to building exceptional television with Andrea Scrosati, Christian Vesper, and the team at Fremantle.”

Vesper, president of global drama at Fremantle, added: “Creative freedom sits at the heart of our DNA where we unite to stay as free and creatively interesting as possible, and supply films and series which audiences will respond to, making AWA Studios an ideal partner for Fremantle. This partnership will be a major benefit to us both, providing Fremantle with a unique opportunity to explore new ideas and original stories from exceptionally talented artists and writers — and in return, offering a creative home of a significant scale where they will benefit from a global approach.”

The deal is the latest bid by Fremantle to grow its creative partnerships around the world. Over the past year, the company has bought 12 production labels in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark from Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group), scripted Italian production company Lux Vide (“Devils,” “Leonardo”), international development and production company Fabel (“Bosch”), Australian-American television production company Eureka Productions (“Parental Guidance,” “Finding Magic Mike”) and U.K. unscripted production company Label1 (“Hospital”).

Fremantle recently became the majority shareholder in U.K. indie Dancing Ledge Productions, the production company behind BBC hits “The Responder” and “The Salisbury Poisonings.”

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