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Abacus: Small Enough to Jail

  • Directed by Steve James
  • United States, 2016, 88 mins., English

The incredible saga of the Chinese immigrant Sung family, owners of Abacus Federal Savings of Chinatown, New York, elicits both outrage and humor. Accused of mortgage fraud by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Abacus, with just six branches catering to small businesses and families, became the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forced the Sung family to defend themselves—and their bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community—over the course of a five-year legal battle. A suspenseful story of justice and America on trial.

Sponsored by the Oregon State Bar International Law Section

Reviews:  Sight & Sound, Cinema Scope, Fandor Keyframe, Screen Daily

Interviews: Interview with Steve James at

Filmography: Life Itself (2014), The Interrupters (2011), At the Death House Door (2008), Reel Paradise (2005), Stevie (2002), Prefontaine (1997), Hoop Dreams (1994)