Highly anticipated Showmax series Blood Psalms debut has been hamstrung by financial payment matters causing further delays on premiering the long-awaited series. In addition, the South African government’s film rebate scheme has majorly impacted the finalisation of the series’s debut date even further after it was meant to premiere in February.
The series written, produced and directed by duet Jahmil X.T Qubeka and Layla Swart Najaar from Yellowbone Entertainment was initially scheduled to premiere in October 2021 on the MultiChoice streaming platform.
The drama series, primarily short in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng, with scenes taken in the North West province, stars veteran actor Zolisa Xaluva, who plays Soldier Toka, with Zikhona Sodlaka playing Sithenjwa.
Thando Tabethe plays Heka, a god manifesting as a physical being, with Faith Baloyi as Queen Assilli and the court’s advisor with access to magic. At the same time, Bokang Pehalane is cast to play a teenage Princess Zazi trying to save her people from a world-ending prophecy.
The series debut date challenge started when the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition revoked its payments of millions of rands approved for making Blood Psalms in the country’s film rebate scheme that has also impacted other film productions.
The departments’ rebate scheme funded more than half of the series’s US$6 million production cost.
Over US$550 000 was used for post-production work on the MultiChoice and Canal+ co-production that possessed more than 300 special effects artists working on the project, which was cancelled in September 2021.
According to reports, US$1.1 million is still outstanding from the rebate payment by the DTIC, which was meant to be released once the production of the series was completed.
Earlier this month, the DTIC spokesperson was approached by media for a comment on the department’s film rebate scheme, especially pertaining to Blood Psalms. Bongani Lukhele, the spokesperson, did not respond with an answer.