Apr 10

Now available:


Mar 13

Ed Sherman interviewed ESPN Films executive producer John Dahl about the 30 for 30 series:

Take, for instance, “The Fab Five.” People knew about the Fab Five. What were you able to do to take that story to another level?

Tell it from the Fab Five’s point of view, go inside that group of players, and the fact that Jalen (Rose) was going to be a key part of that telling of the story with his teammates and that group, that it’s like a chance to look at the Fab Five from the inside out instead of the outside in.

That to me is what makes “The U” (on Miami’s wild football teams) special. I think one reason people responded to it was it was The U according to The U. (Director) Billy Corben didn’t just go out and line up a bunch of critics of The U. He didn’t go out and get all the people who don’t like Miami. He wanted to tell the story, he had a very specific vision; tell the story of The U through The U, through the people who are either playing for, coached it, or are part of that program in some way.

Feb 06

via The Paley Center for Media:

The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop

Thursday, February 20, 2014
6:00 pm Reception; 7:00 pm Screening & Discussion
Paley Center, New York, NY


  • Steve Stoute, Founder and CEO, Translation; Author, The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy
  • Billy Corben, Cofounder, Rakontur; Documentary Film Director
  • Reverend Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Activist; TV/Radio Personality
  • Fab Five Freddy, Hip Hop Pioneer; Visual Artist and Filmmaker
  • Daymond John, American Entrepreneur; Television Personality

Additional panelists to be announced.

The Paley Center is pleased to present a first look of the upcoming VH1 documentary,The Tanning of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop, which explores how hip-hop has impacted every aspect of American life. The four-part documentary is based on the book by internationally acclaimed marketing maven Steve Stoute, who shows how hip-hop grew from an urban counter-culture movement to a major force in music, film, television, fashion, advertising, and politics. After our screening, our panel of experts will discuss this “hip-hopification” of America and dissect important “tanning” moments over the past thirty years. Join us for this provocative conversation and preview of the film, which features classic and rare footage, as well as candid interviews with Dr. Dre, Russell Simmons, Ron Howard, Sean Combs, Mariah Carey, Rick Rubin, and many more.

Nov 06

Miami Beach backs medical marijuana; is Florida next?

via Miami Herald:

In Miami Beach, the straw ballot question grew out of the making of the Square Grouper documentary by local production company Rakontur in 2010.

“With Miami Beach being a leader in progressive laws, we thought a decriminalization effort would be a good idea because it was happening around the country,” said Billy Corben, who founded Rakontur with Alfred Spellman.

They helped start a petition drive that was eventually taken over by the group Sensible Florida, which gathered about 8,000 voter signatures in an effort to stop Miami Beach police from jailing people with personal amounts of marijuana of 20 grams or less.

The City of Miami Beach balked at the initial proposal, the two sides negotiated and, eventually, Miami Beach put the nonbinding straw poll question limited to medical marijuana before voters.

Oct 30

VH1 Takes An In-Depth Look At How Hip-Hop Became A Dominant Force In American Culture With The Documentary Series "The Tanning Of America: One Nation Under Hip Hop"

Sep 30

Billy Corben Pioneers the 'Pop Doc' (Ocean Drive)

via Ocean Drive:

Sep 26

Our new ESPN 30 for 30 short COLLISION COURSE:

Don Aronow was a family man who moved to Miami in the ’60s after making a fortune in New Jersey construction, but soon his focus turned to building and racing cigarette boats. He became world famous, selling boats and fostering close relationships with some of the most powerful men in the world. But during that time in Miami, the people who needed Aronow’s products the most (and some of the only ones who could afford the hefty price tag) were drug smugglers. Aronow’s tale would end in a hail of bullets, leaving questions that still haven’t been answered.

Aug 13
#Limelight available on iTunes, Netflix and Amazon

#Limelight available on iTunes, Netflix and Amazon

Jun 06
June 2006 @OceanDriveMag feature on #CocaineCowboys #TBT
May 08
Billy Corben and Tommy Hilfiger at The Tanning Of America shoot.

Billy Corben and Tommy Hilfiger at The Tanning Of America shoot.

Apr 02

Cocaine Cowboys' Billy Corben on unveiling Florida's Vices

Mar 10
Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday for the Miami Film Festival Cocaine Cowboys master class at the Miami Beach Cinematheque. 

Thanks to everyone who came out yesterday for the Miami Film Festival Cocaine Cowboys master class at the Miami Beach Cinematheque

Feb 21
Back In The Day: May 1997 @BillyCorben @AlfredSpellman #TBT

Back In The Day: May 1997 @BillyCorben @AlfredSpellman #TBT

Feb 15

Cocaine Cowboys masterclass seminar at the Miami International Film Festival

Come see us Saturday, March 9th at 3pm at the Miami Beach Cinematheque:

In its 13-year history, Miami’s production company rakontur has had a string of documentary hits including “Cocaine Cowboys,” “Square Grouper” and ESPN’s “The U.”

In this exclusive master class, Rakontur co-founders Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman unveil their latest projects. They’ll talk about their four-year quest to adapt “Cocaine Cowboys” into a dramatic TV series, navigating the hallways of Hollywood during a time of upheaval. They’ll also share clips and discuss three works-in-progress: “Cocaine Cowboys: Remix” that revisits the subject matter with all new footage; “Dawg Fight,” an expose of illegal backyard MMA fighting in south Florida; and “Ponzi State,” a satirical look at the boom and bust nature of the Florida economy. 

Thom Powers – Moderator Senior Program Consultant (Documentary Cinema), Miami International Film Festival 

Tickets on sale now

Dec 21
Happy Holidays from the @rakontur fam! @samrega @billycorben @alfredspellman @davidcypkin @amandaherrero @evanssss @jennamoshell

Happy Holidays from the @rakontur fam! @samrega @billycorben @alfredspellman @davidcypkin @amandaherrero @evanssss @jennamoshell

We Like



Ask me anything