The Story ⚡
Showmax, the multichoice streaming vertical has revealed the first trailer for its African fantasy drama series and this is what we know so far.
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We have seen fantasy drama series like Game of Thrones (2011), Legend of The Seeker (2008), and The Witcher (2019), but never before have we really seen a fantasy drama series written, directed, and produced by Africans and shot on African soil.
Showmax is set to break this record. And by the very first trailer for the epic series on the 17th of August, we are very pleased for what’s to come!
The synopsis, as seen on the Multichoice website, reads: “Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces, Blood Psalms tells the powerful story of a fierce teenage African queen, Zazi, who battles a world-ending prophesy to navigate her people through complexities, politics and endless wars.”
The epic has a huge cast which includes Bongile Mantsai (Knuckle City), Hamilton Dlamini (Five Fingers For Marseilles), Hlubi Mboya (Isidingo), Thishiwe Ziqubu (The Imposter), Warren Masemola (The Republic), Niza Jay (The Wound), Zikhona Sodlaka (The Wife), Faith Baloyi (Flatland), Thabo Rametsi (Silverton Siege), and Sello Maake kaNcube (The Herd).
According to Nomsa Philiso, Executive Head of Programming at Multichoice (the service’s parent company), the film is Showmax’s “biggest and most ambitious series, completely unlike any other African series you’ve ever seen.”
Blood Psalms is co-created by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka and Layla Swart from Yellowbone Entertainment, co-founded by the duo in 2016. The show is produced in partnership with France’s Canal+.
The series will have its world premiere in Cape Town, South Africa on Wednesday, 24th of August. It will then debut to subscribers on the 28th of September with new episodes dropping thereafter for 11 weeks.
The contest for African originals by streamers is constantly on the rise and currently hot. Earlier this month, during its See What’s Next event in Lagos, Netflix presented its original African content slated for debut at the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023. Amongst the unveiled titles are Ludik (South Africa), to be released on the 26th of August; Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman (Nigeria), launching on the service on the 4th of November; Disconnect 2, coming to screens sometime in December. These are amongst several other titles coming from the streamer between the end of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.
Likewise, in Nigeria, Prime Video unveiled its first Amazon Originals from the country. These titles are Gangs of Lagos and LOL: Last One Laughing Naija.
Content funding in Africa by global streamers clearly shows that opportunities in African production are fast opening up.
With Showmax joining the fight for entertainment attention and African subscribers that Netflix and Prime Video are fighting for, the market is certainly about to get fierce and competitive.
Jahmil X.T. Qubeka and Layla Swart founded Yellowbone Entertainment after years of research as the many opportunities that were available for creators in the South African movie industry kept falling into the hands of a few. The result of the bold step to start the company is the yearly production of different films and television series.
Their titles have won multiple South African film and television awards. In 2019, their film, Sew the Winter to my Skin, was selected to represent South Africa at the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language category. The title won several awards including AMAAs and SAFTAs. Likewise, in 2020, South Africa’s entry at the Oscar was a production by Yellowbone Entertainment, Knuckle City—a crime/sports film about two brothers who take their shots at finding success only to end up getting what they never hoped for.
Showmax x Canal Plus Deal
These two entities have formed a powerful business model of creating content from Africa for Africa and then sharing its rights for international distribution that not only makes the show global but also brings in profits for the financiers and backend to the producers.
It is a new dawn for the African Content business.
Streamers are now competing for the best content from the best of its creators. With investment on the rise, African stories is now on its path to becoming a global mainstream delight.
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