The company will start pre-sales on the film, to be directed by Hans Petter Moland (pictured), in Cannes.

Norway’s Hans Petter Moland has signed on to direct Norwegian producer Monster Film/Northern Alliance Group and Studio Babelsberg’s timely oil rig thriller The Elephant.

The Little Film Company is handling pre-sales here in Cannes on the story, which takes place in 1969 as a multinational crew risks death in the race to find oil in the North Sea.

Petter Skavlan adapted the screenplay from Magnar Jonsgaard’s novel Black Rain based on his experiences working on North Sea rigs. An elephant is industry slang for an oil field that produces at least 500million barrels.

Olav Oen and Hakon Briseid are producing alongside Studio Babelsberg’s Charly Woebcken and Christoph Fisser. Michael Schwarz of Vega Film, whose credits include Roman Polanski’s Oliver Twist, will serve as executive producer.

“This story changed an entire society,” Moland, whose A Somewhat Gentle Man screened in Berlin earlier this year, said. “It is Norway’s rags-to-riches story, and at its core it reveals the abuse of huge wealth and its impact on individual lives.”