The first reviews are in for Cocaine Cowboys Reloaded by rakontur

DVD Talk: "Even with the longer running time, it's a really engaging watch...a visually arresting and historically insane time capsule of sorts, a fascinating portrait of a bygone era that would shape a city in ways that continue to affect not only the city itself but the country as a whole."

Letterboxd: "Director Billy Corben made one of the most entertaining and compelling documentaries of the 2000's and 10 years later it's amazing how much material he still has from deleted scenes and alternate takes. A wild ride."

Upcoming Discs: "Instead of simply layering the new material on top of the original cut, Cocaine Cowboys: Reloaded is a markedly different movie. While the original cut played out like a dishy tabloid tale, Reloaded feels more like a conventional documentary. The best new bits highlight and expand upon the region’s stranger-than-fiction history."

The Process behind ESPN’s ’30 for 30′ documentaries: ‘We want to tell stories in different ways’ by rakontur

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.

The Tanning of America screening at the Paley Center by rakontur

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.

Judge Delays Ruling on Jorge 'Rivi' Ayala's Request for Sentence Reduction by rakontur

Jorge 'Rivi' Ayala in Miami-Dade Court (photo via @DavidOValle305)

Jorge 'Rivi' Ayala in Miami-Dade Court (photo via @DavidOValle305)

via Miami Herald

Cocaine Cowboys hitman Jorge Rivera Ayala, suspected of 35 drug slayings and convicted in three, made a return to Miami-Dade criminal court Thursday as he seeks to get his life prison sentence reduced.
A Miami-Dade judge, however, held off on ruling whether Ayala can explore claims prosecutors long ago promised to help the convicted killer get out of prison.
Ayala, 48, is a notorious figure in Miami crime lore, and his testimony was key in the case against Griselda Blanco, the savage South Florida drug kingpin of the 1970s and ‘80s.


Juan David Ochoa, Founder of the Medellin Cartel, Dies by rakontur

Juan David Ochoa

Juan David Ochoa

The eldest of the three Ochoa brothers who founded one of Colombia's most notorious cocaine cartels has died of a heart attack at age 65.

Juan David Ochoa died on Thursday at a private clinic in Medellin, Colombia's second largest city, Hospital officials and a cousin said.

Ochoa and brothers Jorge Luis and Fabio founded the infamous cartel with feared Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar. But they all surrendered when the manhunt for Escobar intensified.

Ochoa turned himself in 10 months before Escobar was killed and served five years and five months. Then-Justice Minister Carlos Medellin called his 1996 release 'a national disgrace'.

He returned to the family business of raising gait horses.

While Juan David avoided extradition to the United States, his youngest brother Fabio would not. Arrested in 1999, Fabio was later sentenced to 30 years for drug trafficking.



Coast Guard Unloads $35 Million in Cocaine at Miami Beach Base by rakontur


via CBS4

 A high-speed chase played out like a movie scene in the Caribbean Sea this week and the load of cocaine was brought to Miami Saturday morning.

A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter hunted down a boat carrying the massive load and was forced to use weapons.

“This continues to be an increasing trend were seeing in the central Caribbean,”said Lieutenant Commander Somma.

According to the Coast Guard, the smugglers have caught onto the enforcement and have changed their course to farther north toward the Dominican Republic, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico.



Colombia extradites drug lord called 'The Madman' to US by rakontur

The most notorious Colombian drug lord since Pablo Escobar is now headed to the U.S. in handcuffs, after plastic surgery failed to conceal his identity from police.
Daniel Barrera, AKA El Loco or The Madman, ran a 400-ton-per-year drug empire with the help of violent leftist guerrillas, and controlled the major cocaine smuggling routes from Colombia to the U.S. He burned off his fingerprints with acid and had cosmetic surgery on his face, but an international law enforcement task force was still able to track him to a phone booth in Venezuela in September.

A $2.8 Million Gold Heist Shows Cuban Gangs Still Rule Miami by rakontur

…[Raonel] Valdez’s gold heist wasn’t just an extraordinarily bold theft. The untold story of his exploits — from a run of escalating crimes in Miami-Dade County to a jaw-dropping mission to kidnap a powerful drug leader in Mexico for a $5 million reward — is also an indictment of the court system’s inability to deal with organized Cuban crime.
There’s no smoking gun that proves Valdez was working for Cuban gangs, but court documents and interviews with private investigators, former federal drug agents, and Mexican journalists all suggest he’s a prime example of how loosely connected cubano rings have moved into South Florida’s most lucrative underworld rackets.
Though the Cocaine Cowboy era fueled by marielitos is over, crews tied to Cuba dominate everything from marijuana grow houses to migrant smuggling to Medicaid fraud to money laundering.