So Bad Black was totally the poster film for why film festivals like SIFF are amazing opportunities to see films that you truly cannot see in any other format. Nabwana Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey is an incredibly prolific filmmaker who, with the enthusiastic participation of his friends of neighbors in the Ugandan village of Wakaliga, has turned out dozens of DIY epics that are local takes on popular Hollywood action and adventure films. He’s also a fan of “ripped from the headlines” subject matter, as evidenced by his current in production movies about cannibals (this was apparently a big subject of Ugandan tabloid papers recently with multiple people being accused of eating their neighbors) and the tastefully named “Ebola Hunter.” Frankly, if anyone should be able to pull off a humorous, whistling in the dark take on a national tragedy like the ebola outbreak, it’s Isaac.

An interesting addition to these pastiches of Hollywood “commando” movies is narration by a VJ, or Video Joker, in the tradition of the Japanese silent film benshi narrator from the 1920s and 30s. When the Hollywood VHS tapes began flooding in to Uganda in the 1980s and 90s, they were not subtitled and so, as they were being screened on a television with the villagers gathered around it, someone in the audience would step up and attempt to narrate what they thought the dialogue must be. And thus the comedic, bawdy tradition of the VJ began.

The Seattle audience on Monday evening at the Egyptian got a real treat when Alan Hofmanis, an American who got so into the Wakaliwood genre that he became a producer, promoter and sometime actor in the movies, was there to give us the inside scoop on both the film we were about to see and to shoot us on his phone as we collectively mimed dying horribly from ebola in the theater. The footage will be added to the upcoming Ebola Hunter action film to show the terrible epidemic going global as part of its plot. Film spouse Wihelm and I did our best to froth and flail in the front row of the theater.