With a debut slate headed by a $36m production in which Kate Winslet plays a tiger tamer, newly-launched Tailor-Made Films has emerged as a UK production outfit to watch.

Founded by former freelance TV producer Miriam Segal with backing worth£1.3 million from a group of private investors, the company has been quietly developing an ambitious slate for the last 22 months, culminating in its official launch at Cannes this week. .

Winslet is to star in The Final Confession Of Mabel Stark, an adaptation of Robert Hough's novel about an indomitable female tiger trainer in turn of the century America. Francesca Brill is to deliver the first draft by the end of this month. Tailor-Made is working with US independent producer Dan Lupovitz on the project.

"Mabel survived a dozen maulings and five husbands, she was brazen, brave, and obsessively driven - she has the story that leading ladies were invented for," said Winslet.

Also in the works is Fattypuffs And Thinifers, an $80 million family film based on Andre Maurois' children's story. Political satire Idlewild is being adapted by its author Mark Lawson, while Mick Ford is adapting C P Taylor's play Good.

Segal, whose credits range from producing UK soap opera EastEnders to script editing acclaimed feature Love Is The Devil, formed Tailor-Made to retain creative control as well as secure a stronger financial position.

"You've got a lot more weight [as a company] than a producer for hire," she says.

Claire Moorsom, a former freelance script editor and consultant, heads film development at Tailor-Made. The company is also readying high-end TV projects such as an adaptation of family action adventure books A.L.P.H.A Force. Prince's Kingdom, starring David Suchet and Colin Salmon, and Miss Scarlet And Loretta, with Anette Crosby.