Projects on the slate include a restaging of Shane Warne The Musical which will be filmed and shown in cinemas.

Plans are afoot to restage Shane Warne The Musical with a symphony orchestra and choir, film the stage performance, then show it in cinemas as part of a move into feature film production by Australian distributor Madman.

Actor/comedian/musician Eddie Perfect won a string of awards in 2009 for his musical about the notorious former international cricketer, and the project is one of several being produced by Michael Lynch.

Development funding from Screen Australia is assisting Madman to work with Lynch on other projects too, including an untitled character-driven period thriller spanning several continents from renowned Australian author Christos Tsiolkas and writer/director Anthony Maras. An eight-part series adapted from Tsiolkas’s book The Slap is currently wowing local audiences and Maras recently made the short period film The Palace in Cyprus.

Madman was one of four companies to receive a total of US$3.1 (A$3m) in the third round of Screen Australia’s Enterprise Program. The 41 applications received had their hands out for US$32.3m (A$31.7m). Since 2009, 21 companies have received this kind of funding, which aims to strengthen businesses with a production track record in TV, film or online.

“We felt we had matured enough to contribute to the creative and development process of content creation,” said Paul Wiegard, director of Madman alongside Tim Anderson. “We all know the distribution landscape is changing. It’s a natural evolution but a long and time-consuming process to develop content to the quality it needs to be.”

In their pitch Madman argued that it would help to fast-track projects from producers with whom it already had a relationship. Robyn Kershaw (Looking For Alibrandi, Bran Nue Dae) is such a producer and is developing an adaptation of Nigel Marsh’s humorous novel Fat, Forty & Fired, about what happens after a stressed-out overweight man with four children loses his high-powered job.

New-York based Australian Louise Gough, who has been working with Kershaw as a development executive, is returning to work with Madman Productions and the already in-house Nick Batzias will now be in the new division full time.

There are about 10 projects on the slate, including five films, details of which are to be released later.

Madman has distributed a number of Australian films, many by first-time directors, including its three most successful: Kenny from Clayton Jacobson, Animal Kingdom from David Michôd, and Snowtown from Justin Kurzel. It has also invested in development and produced some television