The producers of Blood Psalms, which MultiChoice commissioned as a Showmax Original, are heading to court after millions of dollars guaranteed through South Africa’s film rebate scheme were unexpectedly withdrawn, leaving them with an urgent need to complete their series. Almost half of the US$5.6 million production cost is funded by the film rebate scheme of South Africa’s Department Of Trade, Industry, And Competition (DTIC).
The MultiChoice and Canal+ co-production billed as an “African Game of Thrones” written, produced, and directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka and Layla Swart Najaar of Yellowbone Entertainment was part of the African pay-TV operator’s Expo 2020 Dubai media junket to promote South African productions and attract investors and producers to the country, last month.
It was “an embarrassment” according to Jahmil X.T. Qubeka to be in Dubai, urging the world to do business with South Africa “when we have not put in place the mechanisms for that to happen.”
While the DTIC and South Africa’s Sports, Arts and Culture Department attended the Expo 2020 Dubai and Blood Psalms presentations, The Devi Show on e.tv revealed that Yellowbone Entertainment was forced to go to court to get its promised – then cancelled – rebates for Blood Psalms paid.
The multi-million-dollar series, which has been in the works for almost two years and is the most expensive and largest series ever filmed in Africa and produced on South African soil, has already been delayed.
Showmax’s head of content, Candice Fangueiro, stated that the Showmax Original would premiere in October 2021, and that date has come and gone.
Blood Psalms has now been moved to February 2022, according to MultiChoice. However, it is unclear if it can realise this target date for the Showmax release, given the uncertain future of the US$5.6 million production cost.