Story By Melanie Goodfellow |DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Uri Singer’s Passage Pictures has announced a new feature Sands of Fortune, delving into the story behind the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia and the birth of the country’s petroleum and natural gas giant Aramco. The historic drama revolves around the true story of the partnership between American geologist Max Steineke and Bedouin Khamis Bin Rimthan, who together discovered the country’s first oil well in 1938, today known as Dammam No. 7.
Oregon-born, Stanford-educated Steineke was renowned for his expertise in geology as well as his determined nature and adventurous spirit, while Rimthan was a member of the nomadic Al-Amjan tribe with a deep knowledge of the desert, who worked as a guide for the American geologists prospecting for oil in the 1930s.
“The story of Aramco is a testament to human ingenuity and the incredible impact that a single discovery can have on the world. This is a story that all Saudis know, but I believe the whole world will soon be as intrigued as I was when I first heard about this,” said Singer.
The script is written by Bernie Campbell, a longtime strategist and speechwriter who has spent years living in Saudi Arabia and was the first American to write for its ruling royal family.
Singer originally met Campbell during a trip to Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah last December, where they began discussions on the feature.
“We have been working together on this for a while. Bernie is the perfect fit to bring this story to life, especially given his experience on the ground in Saudi, said the producer.
The film will feature a mix of Saudi and American talent on screen and Passage Pictures is in talks to partner with several local production companies on the project.
Singer’s recent credits include Noah Baumbach’s comedy-drama White Noise, while upcoming projects include adaptations of James Elroy’s Blood’s A Rover, with Jose Padilha directing, and Don DeLillo’s Underworld, with Ted Melfi writing and directing. Singer is repped by Knol Law PC.