Scenes from the rakontur cutting room floor: Square Grouper

Wynwood independent theater O Cinema is in the middle of a retrospective of the first ten years of filmmaking by rakontur, the Miami-based media studio that broke out in 2006 with Cocaine Cowboys.

The last film screening in the rakontur retrospective is Square Grouper, a portrait of South Florida as "a pot smuggler’s paradise" in the '70s and '80s. This deleted sequence from the documentary deals with two sizable drug busts, one at a Miami Beach home and one on the water.

Film: Square Grouper (2011)Scene: ""San Marino and The Presidential"

Billy Corben: This is a really cool sequence that we cut when the 'Black Tuna Gang' chapter started running long. Black Tuna is the second of Square Grouper's three parts. The first is the tale of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church in Miami and the third is all about Everglades City. These scenes elaborate on the downfall of the Black Tuna marijuana smuggling gang, the leader of which, Robert Platshorn became the longest serving non-violent marijuana prisoner in American history (he will be at the O Cinema for the screening on Thursday night). This cut I think I actually regret making. It recounts some significant climactic events of their story that I feel would have made this chapter even more vivid and powerful. We had to cut 5 minutes though, so we cut this.

'Square Grouper' will screen at O Cinema on Thursday, March 29, at 7:30 pm, with members of the film cast in attendance. Visit the event page for full details.


The rakontur retrospective closes on Friday with a conversation with co-founders Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman that will be hosted by CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede. For more details on the retrospective, visit o-cinema.org/rakontur.

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