Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

Opens Friday, June 16
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1hr 28mins // directed by:Steve James // featuring:Ti-Hua Chang

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells the incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York.

Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend themselves – and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community – over the course of a five-year legal battle.

"Steve James’s impressively economical documentary folds together the events that led to the case, the place of Abacus in the Chinese-American community, the 2015 trial, and its aftermath. Best of all, “Abacus” is also a family saga. At times, it feels a little like Ang Lee’s “Eat Drink Man Woman” — which, as it happens, came out the same year as James’s best-known documentary, “Hoop Dreams,” 1994." — Mark Feeney, The Boston Globe


"In “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” (an ironic counter to the infamous “too big to fail”), Academy Award-nominated director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) paints a slightly problematic, nonfiction David and Goliath portrait of what can only be called a complete travesty of justice perpetrated by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office led by Assistant District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr." — James Verniere, The Boston Herald