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DDocumentary Competition

In Search of Oil & Sand

In Search of Oil & Sand

Original Title: Nafat wa Turab
Director: Wael Omar Sayed el AhlPhilippe Dib
Egypt, United Arab Emirates | English, Arabic
2012 | 58min. | Colour and B&W
Subtitles: English
Format: HDCAM
12+
Soon after the Black Saturday of January 1952 when Cairo burned and witnessed massive rioting, an emerging star from Hollywood by the name of Frances Ramsden came to town. She integrated into the vibrant social life of Egyptian society, particularly the Zohreya Set, a group of royals, diplomats, and aristocrats that had formed around Princess Fayza. Together they embarked on the production of a film extravaganza, to be called Oil & Sand, about an archaic leader trying to regain control of his kingdom after being ousted in a coup. What started out as simple fun, strangely enough, ended up as an oracle foreshadowing the turbulent events soon to come. Members of the Zohreya Set could not imagine that six weeks following the production of this film, a real coup d’état would depose and exile the King of Egypt in favour of a military command council, marking the end of an era.
Sixty years later, a series of 8mm film reels of Oil & Sand emerge from the attic of Mahmoud Sabit, and he takes us through firsthand accounts of both his father Adel Sabit, an Egyptian royal cousin and insider, and his mother, Frances Ramsden who got caught up in a story of love and adventure at a pivotal moment in Egypt’s history. Mahmoud reconstructs the strange story of the film production and its array of real-life players, as well as their subsequent fates in a post-monarchial Egypt as the Cold War begins. What the film reveals is a man who is both a guardian and a prisoner of his legacy with a family caught in the middle.

– Mohammad Khawaja

Director,  Wael Omar Sayed el Ahl, 

Director,  Wael Omar Sayed el Ahl

Wael Omar has been working in film and TV since 2001, racking up a wide range of production credits and working closely with award winning directors along the way. He loves working with new people and subjects, and filmmakers who are passionate about their craft and wants to champion a variety of Egypt's young, new crop of indie filmmakers.

Philippe Dib

Philippe Dib

Philippe Laurent Dib is a director of Franco-Lebanese origin who was raised in Cairo. In 1996, he co-wrote and directed his debut feature film, Welcome Says the Angel. In 2006, he wrote and directed the documentary El Tanbura, which won awards at the Etnofilm Festival and the Sawi Documentary Festival in Cairo.

Cast and Crew

Director
Wael Omar, Philippe Dib
Production Company
Middle West Films, Sarakene Limited
Music
Omar Fadel
Producer
Wael Omar, Philippe Dib
Screenwriter
Rasha el Gammal
Editor
Omar Khodeir, Wael Omar
Cinematographer
David Golia
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