Film & TV

Billy Corben's Rakontur Studios Wins Emmy for The U Part 2

The most recently eligible batch of 2014 ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries, including Rakontur's The U Part 2, won the Emmy for Most Outstanding Sports Documentary Series this past week. The U Part 2, directed by Billy Corben, picked up where the original 2009 film about the University of Miami's football program in the 1980s The U left off.

The U Part 2 details the tough times the Hurricanes went through while the school was attempting to recover from crippling NCAA sanctions imposed as the result of institutional violations and program scandals. The film also tracks the eventual recovery that saw the school claim another National Championship.

Corben and his crew are best known for their production of the Cocaine Cowboys documentary, which depicted the cocaine trade of the '70s and '80s that greatly involved the city of Miami. Most recently Corben and his crew released the film Dawg Fight in which they told the story of underground fighting circles taking place in West Perrine. The raw look at the non-screensaver-side of Miami has drawn high praise from many media outlets. 

Back in December, before The U Part 2 was released, Corben spoke to New Times about how he was excited to tell the rest of the Miami Hurricanes story, that led them all the way up to what was then present-day Hurricanes football. 

"The downside, so to speak, of the first movie was that it was a rise and fall that ended around 1992-ish, but we knew, and anyone in the know knew, the team would rise again, and that is what we never got to in the first movie." Corben said. 

"The thicker and fatter the dynasty gets, the harder it falls."

While The U documentaries may have been guaranteed to succeed in the Miami market, they have been more than popular outside of Miami. Corben believes this was in large part to the films not only being about football but about the revival of something that was down on its luck. 

"The most flattering thing people told me about the first movie was 'I don't even like the Hurricanes' or 'I don't even like football' or 'I don't even like sports, but I love that documentary.'" Corben said. "I think that was the appeal for the most part — you're appealing to people outside that sort of target demo."

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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi