MDC’s Tower Theater

Magic City Hustle

World Premiere

DIRECTED BY Billy Corben

Country: USA
Language: English

Film Year: 2019
Category: Documentary Achievement Award, Knight Made in MIA Feature Film Award


After you’ve tasted glory in college football, what comes next? This film follows several former players for the Miami Hurricanes who get an unexpected chance to turn pro. Only it’s not playing football. The Magic City Casino is starting a new team of jai alai — the sport popular in Latin America and nearly extinct in the U.S. Due to an obscure Florida law, the casino needs jai alai to keep its license.

We watch the former Canes try to adapt to the very different athletics of jai alai. It resembles racquet ball, only players wear long curved baskets (cestas) on their hands to hurl a goatskin ball against the wall at speeds up to 170 mph.

To use a baseball metaphor, the players are more Bad News Bears than The Natural. But there’s a poignancy to their efforts. Filmmaker Billy Corben has a deep knowledge and affection for Miami characters, demonstrated in films from Cocaine Cowboys to The U to Screwball (also playing at the Festival). He uses the story of the Magic City team to explore our contemporary gig economy, where everyone needs a hustle. But only in Miami could you make jai alai your hustle.


Saturday March 2nd @ 6:45 PM MDC’s Tower Theater Add to Schedule


Director: Billy Corben
Producer: Alfred Spellman, Billy Corben, Nicole Pritchet
Executive Producer: Scott Savin
Production Company: rakontur

Editor: Roderick Avila

Billy Corben

Billy Corben is a Miami-based producer-director and one of the founders of rakontur. Alongside Alfred Spellman, their credits include Cocaine Cowboys (2006), Dawg Fight (2015) and Raw Deal: A Question of Consent (2001), all official selections at the Miami Film Festival. Screwball (2018) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and is also part of the 36th edition of the Miami Film Festival. Magic City Hustle (2019) is his latest feature documentary.

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