Scenes from the rakontur cutting room floor

By | March 22nd, 2012 | No Comments
'Cocaine Cowboys' still

O Cinema celebrates 10 years of film making by rakontur, the Miami-based media studio behind Cocaine Cowboys (pictured).

As we mentioned in this week’s indie film guide, all of next week O Cinema will celebrate the first 10 years of film making by rakontur, the Miami-based media studio behind Cocaine Cowboys, The U, Square Grouper, and other Florida-centric documentaries. (For a chance to win a pair of all-access passes, sign up for the Beached Miami e-blast.)

With the retrospective set to begin on Monday with a screening of Raw Deal: A Question of Consent, an exposé on the contested rape of a 27-year-old exotic dancer at a University of Florida fraternity house, rakontur co-founder Billy Corben reflects on a scene that did not make it into the final cut.

Film: Raw Deal (2001)
Scene: “Talk Show Motive”

Billy Corben: One of the most popular questions viewers have after watching Raw Deal is, what would have been [exotic dancer] Lisa King’s motive to lie about being raped at the Delta Chi fraternity house at the University of Florida in Gainesville? Particularly since she knew all the events of the evening were captured on videotape (footage which is used extensively in our documentary). One of the theories had to do with Lisa’s prior appearances on daytime talk shows like Jerry Springer, Montel Williams, and Ricki Lake. According to some of the fraternity men and their attorneys, Lisa was told by a producer at one of those shows that in order to return, she’d need to “spice up her act.” Lisa admitted that she’d been a guest on the shows and we contacted the production offices, but we were unable to locate any footage with Lisa. Without the video or any corroboration of the statement allegedly made to Lisa by the producer, we decided to cut it to save running time. A sequence similar to this one did appear in the cut that aired on Channel 4 on UK television years ago.

Raw Deal will screen at O Cinema on Monday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. Visit the event page for full details.


The second film in the rakontur retrospective is Cocaine Cowboys, the story of how the cocaine trade in the ’70s and ’80s transformed Miami from a “sleepy retirement community into … the epicenter of a $20 billion annual business fed by Colombia’s Medellin cartel.” In this deleted scene, hitman Jorge “Rivi” Ayala recounts the killing of Oscar Piedrahita, a man who had run afoul of psychopathic drug lord Griselda Blanco.

Film: Cocaine Cowboys (2006)
Scene: “Oscar Piedrahita Hit”

Billy Corben: We shot over 60 hours of interview footage on Cocaine Cowboys. We had another dozen hours of archival news video, hundreds of pictures, and even shot a few reenactments for additional b-roll. There was so much compelling material. And most of the stories we didn’t have time to use were just as compelling as the stuff that made the final cut. Because of that, we’ve been working on Cocaine Cowboys: Remix, which is a wholesale re-edit of the movie from scratch incorporating a lot of the amazing footage we weren’t able to the first time around. The story of this cold-blooded murder — during a wake for the target’s three-year-old son, who had recently drowned in a swimming pool — is a quintessential example of why Rivi was so successful as a hitman/enforcer in Miami in the 1980s. He was handsome, charming, spoke English, and read the Miami Herald every morning.

Cocaine Cowboys will screen at O Cinema on Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m., with members of the cast in attendance. Visit the event page for full details.

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