Tag Archives: Blood Psalms

Canal+ ups its stake in MultiChoice

Blood Psalms

France’s Canal+ Group has increased its stake in African pay TV company MultiChoice Group to more than 26%, having almost doubled its interest in the company over the past year.

Canal+ has gradually upped its stake in the South African company behind the DStv and GOtv pay TV platforms since it first acquired a 6.5% interest in October 2020.

A year ago, the Paris-based broadcasting giant announced that it owned 15% stake in MultiChoice; this rose to 18.44% in June this year, then 20.12% a month later.

A statement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) this week revealed that Canal+ has further increased this to 26.26%. Canal+ is owned by Vivendi, a mass media holding company that also owns Gameloft, Havas and Prisma Media.

As required by South Africa’s Companies Act, MultiChoice has filed the required notice with the JSE’s Takeover Regulation Panel. If Canal+ acquires a 35% interest in MutliChoice, it would trigger a mandatory offer to shareholders.

However, whether or not Canal+ and Vivendi owner Vincent Bollore intends to make an offer to acquire MultiChoice, it would face some major hurdles, given South Africa’s tight restrictions over the foreign ownership of broadcasters.

“While the group regularly engages investors and maintains an open dialogue with the investment community, its policy is not to comment on its individual shareholders, nor on its interactions with them,” said MultiChoice this week.

Canal+ and MultiChoice have worked together in recent years, coproducing shows such as the South African action-drama series Spinners (8×50’) and gritty Kenyan police procedural Crime & Justice, both made with MultiChoice’s streamer Showmax.

Showmax and Canal+’s African OTT platform MyCanal also coproduced 10-episode South African drama Blood Psalms, based on a pre-colonial Xhosa legend. Canal+ also operates Canal+ Afrique, an African version of Canal+ available mainly in the francophone countries of Central and West Africa.

MultiChoice is backed by African internet company Naspers.

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Blood Psalms set for September release

Blood Psalms is a coproduction with France’s Canal+

African VoD service Showmax will debut epic African fantasy series Blood Psalms on September 28.

Blood Psalms is a Showmax Original in partnership with France’s Canal+, South Africa’s Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces, Blood Psalms “draws from elements of a multitude of African mythologies” and looks at various tribes. It follows the story of a young princess who must navigate primordial curses, ancestral vendettas and her role as the harbinger of a damning prophecy.

Blood Psalms was created by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka from Yellowbone Entertainment. The cast is led by Bokang Phelane (Keeping Score, Isidingo), Mothusi Magano and Zolisa Xaluva.

Nomsa Philiso, executive head of programming at Showmax parent MultiChoice, said: “Blood Psalms is the biggest and most ambitious series we’ve ever made, completely unlike any other African series you’ve ever seen. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Phelane added: “This show was specifically created as a reimagining of ourselves as Africans, as an answer to ‘Who are we?’ It’s done in a very entertaining way, with a lot of drama and action. I got to witness the greats at work. The cast is filled with actors who have inspired me from quite early in my life to pursue acting.”

Blood Psalms will also have its world premiere in Cape Town on August 24 as the opening-night screening at MipAfrica, part of FAME Week Africa.

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Showmax originals include first novela

Blood Psalms is a coproduction with France’s Canal+

African streamer Showmax is making its first telenovela, romantic comedy series and scripted West African original as part of a new slate of eight shows and films.

Showmax’s first telenovela, The Wife, is based on Dudu Busani-Dube’s bestselling novels Hlomu the Wife, Zandile the Resolute and Naledi His Love, all of which tell the story of a Zulu crime family through the eyes of the criminals’ wives.

Each book will be adapted into 40 episodes of the 120-episode season, with South African prodco Stained Glass producing.

Romcom series Troukoors follows Jessica, a wedding planner who’s surrounded by love but struggling to find it for herself. The show has been created by Louis Pretorius and Albert Snyman, the creators of Die Boekklub, Fynskrif and Die Boland Moorde.

Ghana Jollof is Showmax’s first West African comedy. It features two Nigerians who move to Ghana and clash with their new environment. The series will be filmed across Lagos and Accra, with comedian Basketmouth exec producing.

As well as these shows, Showmax is also making its first epic fantasy series. A coproduction with French pay TV firm Canal+, Blood Psalms tells the story of the ascent to power of a teenage princess whose world is threatened by the gods. South Africa’s Yellowbone Entertainment is producing.

Also on the slate is a second season of Black Tax, a sitcom about a single mother who has just managed to make ends meet when her parents demand she take care of them, too. Tyler Perry’s BET Africa is behind the show.

Meanwhile, Showmax will host the first part of a film trilogy in 2022. Glasshouse is a post-apocalyptic movie from Kelsey Egan and Cape Town’s Local Motion Pictures in which one family does what it can to survive in a world where humans are affected by airborne dementia known as The Shred.

Elsewhere on the slate is family thriller Desert Rose, made by Quizzical Pictures. The show sees family reunion turn into a manhunt as the Greyling siblings scramble to settle their estranged father’s debt before it’s too late. Rohan Dickson, known for Showmax series Reyka, is the showrunner.

There’s also horror series Pulse, in which an international group of young game creators discover survival is not just a game when an electromagnetic pulse bomb turns their secure office high-rise into a battlefield. The series is the result of an international collaboration between global production and finance company Media Musketeers, UK-based ForLan Films and South Africa’s Red Mirror.

Finally, Afrikaans docuseries Seks sees couples and single people openly discuss their sex lives with a clinical psychologist. Sex workers, adult-shop owners, a unicorn, swingers, dominatrixes, a crossdresser, a dungeon master, people who dress up like babies, and others all feature. The six-parter is being produced by media personality Rian van Heerden through South Africa’s Provoco.

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MultiChoice, Canal+ link for African drama

Blood Psalms will premiere in 2021

South Africa’s MultiChoice Group and France-based pay TV operator Canal+ are coproducing a 10-episode South African drama series.

Blood Psalms is based on a pre-colonial Xhosa legend and will debut next year on MultiChoice streaming service Showmax and Canal+’s African OTT platform MyCanal.

Shot in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and North West provinces of South Africa, Blood Psalms tells the story of a teenage African queen who battles a world-ending prophecy to guide her people through injustice and war.

Produced by Layla Swart and Jahmil XT Qubeka, co-owners of South African prodco Yellowbone Entertainment (Knuckle City), the series stars local actors including Albert Ibokwe Khoza, Andile Nebulane, Awethu Hleli, Ayanda Daweti, Ayanda Makayi and Bokang Phelane.

Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for general entertainment and connected video, said: “This massive coproduction highlights Showmax’s commitment to a dynamic approach to superior-quality content. The partnership with Canal+ also creates an environment that is ripe for invaluable skills exchange between the South African and French production teams.”

Fabrice Faux, chief content officer at Canal+ International, added: “This African story, inspired by a Xhosa legend, will carry our viewers into mythological and epic adventures. With an outstanding directing and production team and a talented cast, Blood Psalms promises to be a big phenomenon that will resonate in all of Africa and internationally.”

Swart said: “Every one of the actors selected brings their own unique ability to authentically translate this magical epic on to screen. The goal, for us, is to ensure that the golden thread of Africa’s stunning history really shines. The story of Blood Psalms not only entertains, but also contributes to the preservation of African culture and languages as authentically told by Africans, to be enjoyed by the world.”

The production was made possible by several key partners, including South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry, MultiChoice flagship channel M-Net, the Eastern Cape Economic Development Corporation and the MultiChoice Innovation Fund, which supports South African entrepreneurs.

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