Despite playing in only 12 theatres so far, Billy Corben’s new documentary Cocaine Cowboys seems to have drummed up a fair amount of attention, both critical and otherwise. The movie, described by many as “the real-life Scarface“, is a look at the Miami drug scene from the 70′s and 80′s and includes interviews with journalists, law enforcement officials and actual hitmen and drug traffickers who took part in this $20 billion industry. The film’s soundtrack is provided by Jan Hammer, who wrote the theme song for the original Miami Vice. The movie is winning a lot of fans and generating strong word of mouth, particularly within the hip-hop community. But what happens when a movie is only playing in a few theatres? Well, people buy go out and buy the bootleg DVD of course!
Apparently the bootleg is a huge seller, particularly at flea markets across Miami, but rather than crying foul and trying to shut down the piracy, the film’s producers are embracing it. They’re actually interviewing many of the bootleggers and posting up some videos on YouTube as part of a series they’re calling “Streets of Miami: The Cocaine Cowboys Phenomenon”. How’s that for grassroots marketing? Co-producer Alfred Spellman had this to say: “You cannot buy the type of word-of-mouth buzz that starts at the street level… It’s friends telling friends, and those are the people that trust each other the most.” Check out the videos below:
YouTube: Streets of Miami Episode #1
YouTube: Streets of Miami Episode #2
YouTube: Streets of Miami Episode #3
YouTube: Streets of Miami Episode #4
YouTube: Streets of Miami Episode #5
Hollywood.com: Cocaine Cowboys trailer