PN 42: Made in Miami – Billy Corben & Alfred Spellman on “Cocaine Cowboys”

“Cocaine Cowboys” is a cult classic exploring the 1980s drug trade in Miami. Packaged like a gangster film, the documentary links the criminal underworld to the city’s real estate boom. On this episode of Pure Nonfiction, host Thom Powers interviews “Cocaine Cowboys” director Billy Corben and producer Alfred Spellman during the 2017 Miami Film Festival.

Both natives of south Florida, Corben and Spellman formed the production company Rakontur (along with editor David Cypkin) with a commitment to tell Miami stories. At age 22, they debuted at Sundance in 2001 with their first documentary “Raw Deal” about an alleged frat house rape. They followed with “Cocaine Cowboys” in 2006. Their other films include ESPN’s “The U” and “The U Part 2” about the rise and fall of the University of Miami’s football team; “Square Grouper” about Miami’s marijuana trade; and “Dawg Fight” about backyard fighters.

In this conversation, they discuss the making of “Cocaine Cowboys”; and reflect on Miami’s cultural sensations from the tourist-driven Art Basel to the homegrown Borscht Film Festival and the Oscar-winning “Moonlight.”

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On Twitter: @billycorben @alfredspellman @rakonturmiami @thompowers @purenonfiction

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF Podcast Network.

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