Billy Corben, a South Florida native, has worked all over the world as a producer, director, actor and writer for over 20 years. Corben and his producing partner, Alfred Spellman, formed their first production company in 1994 while both were sophomores in high school, and together they made several award-winning shorts.
Raw Deal: A Question of Consent (2001), the duo’s first feature documentary, was selected for the 2001 Sundance Film Festival where it played to great acclaim and not a little controversy, motivating a story that ran on page one of the notorious New York Post written by the paper’s film critic. A harrowing look at an alleged gang rape that took place at a fraternity house on the campus of the University of Florida at Gainesville, Raw Deal was shaped by Corben and Spellman by inter-cutting a series of Rashoman-like interviews with amateur video footage that was actually taken by the participants in the alleged gang-rape, footage that became available to the general public when the local prosecutor entered it into evidence.
Raw Deal was rather famously acquired for theatrical distribution out of Sundance by Artisan Entertainment, though the company failed to release the film and has since been acquired by Lionsgate. In the meantime, Raw Deal aired to great acclaim on the BBC and Spellman and Corben managed to get the rights to the film back from Artisan. Raw Deal is an important part of Tanya Horeck’s academic book Public Rape: Representing Violation in Fiction and Film, published by Routledge in 2004.
Since Raw Deal, Corben and Spellman launched their Miami-based production company, Rakontur, with longtime collaborator David Cypkin. Rakontur is currently in production on a documentary series entitled Clubland, which chronicles the cutthroat world of the South Beach nightclub business.