Brian Zahm had used Jacoti Sommes' music in many of his films, but Zahm called five or six times to confirm Sommes would score his latest project - one, because composing a soundtrack for this 23-minute hip-hopera would be incredibly taxing, and two, because people kept bailing when they heard the details.

Brian Zahm had used Jacoti Sommes' music in many of his films, but Zahm called five or six times to confirm Sommes would score his latest project - one, because composing a soundtrack for this 23-minute hip-hopera would be incredibly taxing, and two, because people kept bailing when they heard the details.

Some folks didn't want to participate in a movie about a crackhead pimp who accidentally shoots his penis off. Others had a problem with reimagining the "blacksploitation" format with a predominantly white cast. Still others balked at the title, "Wiggah."

But Sommes, who's been making music in Columbus for more than a decade with groups like Ill Atmospherics and Hugs & Kisses, was down. So in late 2009, he and Zahm embarked on the most challenging project of their careers.

"We kicked each other's asses," Sommes said.

The result is disorienting, unsettling and completely mesmerizing. It's advertised as "The Biggest Blackest Whitesploitation Comedy Musical You Ever Seen Sucka!!!"

"Wiggah," based on Alien Stevens' short story "Southland," stars Ryan Czerwonko as T, a perpetually angry street thug who pimps to fuel his crack habit. Sommes co-stars as rival pimp L'roy. Columbus music fans might also recognize Tom "Ukulele Man" Harker as crooked cop Jasper J.

Zahm wrote 67 drafts of the rhyming, rhythmic script during 2008 and 2009. Sommes began producing demos in fall 2009, then spent winter recording the actors' dialogue over minimal rhythm tracks before expanding them into throbbing funk tunes. When filming finally commenced last March in Columbus, the actors lip-synced to match the recordings. Every step was tedious but essential.

"The musical aspects made it original and made some of the grimier, seedier aspects more palatable," Zahm said.

The judges at the American International Film Festival certainly found it palatable. The monthly fest awarded "Wiggah" five honors for January 2011: Best Comedy, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Editor and Best Cinematographer.

"Wiggah" was accepted in the Palm Beach International and Beverly Hills film festivals, and Zahm hopes to qualify for Sundance and South by Southwest next year. He's confident his team's toil will pay off.

"It was just a dream project that was so much work it was a nightmare," Zahm said, "but the best nightmare you could possibly have."