‘ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail’ Acquired by PBS

PBS Distribution announced today that they have acquired the North American distribution rights to “Abacus: Small Enough To Jail,” directed by Steve James. PBS Distribution plans a theatrical release this Spring starting in New York City at IFC Center on May 19, 2017 and expanding throughout the summer.

Abacus: Small Enough To Jail will be screening at the upcoming Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on April 30, 2017 at the Downtown Independent Theatre and theatrically on June 9 at the Landmark Nuart Theatre. Filmmaker Steve James will answer questions at the Nuart.

From acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters, Life Itself), 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.

The film debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and also played the prestigious New York Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival. PBS Distribution plans a robust spring festival campaign leading into the theatrical release, including the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival where ABACUS: Small Enough To Jail is the Opening Night film. 

“It’s a true honor to work with Steve James and the teams at Kartemquin Films, Motto Pictures, and Mitten Media to bring ABACUS to a larger audience,” said Erin Owens, Head of Theatrical Distribution for PBS Distribution. “The Sungs’ story is one of resilience and perseverance. Their determination to stand up for an entire immigrant community is both admirable and inspiring.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with PBS Distribution on the theatrical release of ABACUS.  We have a long history with public television and can think of no better home for this vitally important but, until now, untold story of the 2008 mortgage crisis,” said Steve James.

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