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Tribeca’s “Cocaine Cowboys”: When is a World Premiere a U.S. Premiere?

Tribeca's "Cocaine Cowboys": When is a World Premiere a U.S. Premiere?

Already looking to emerge as one of the buzz films at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival, Billy Corben’s documentary Cocaine Cowboys, a look at the impact of the cocaine trade on the city of Miami, is listed in the Tribeca press release as a “World Premiere.” But is it really a world premiere if the film showed at last year’s Miami International Film Festival? The Miami website lists the very same film , calling it “a dazzling portrait of a cultural explosion that still echoes as Hollywood myth in television reruns of Miami Vice and DVDs of Scarface and Blow.”

Corben’s last film Raw Deal: A Question of Consent was famously held back from release after legal troubles dogged the distribution after its 2001 Sundance premiere and pickup by Artisan. Hopefully Cowboys will ride an easier path towards TV and/or theaters, but it occurs to me while looking at IMDB, do they have titling issues to worry about with Ulli Lommel’s 1979 film of the same name, starring Jack Palance?

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Billy Corben

Hey Anthony: Thanks for the advance buzz. The single screening of “Cocaine Cowboys” at last year’s MIFF was a Works-In-Progress screening. The print contained low res timecode-stamped archival footage, no photo animation, no color correction, no sound mix or effects, temp music tracks and no onscreen text. So the Tribeca Film Festival will indeed be hosting the world’s very first public screenings of the completed “Cocaine Cowboys.” Thanks again for the mention and I hope to see you there! Best, Billy Corben Director/Producer/Editor


I noticed the same thing… It could be understood as a misunderstanding if it premiered at Miami in 2006, but not 2005, making it a year old.

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