Abacus: Small Enough to Jail tells story of only U.S. bank to face criminal charges from financial disaster
Weeks before his next documentary hits theaters, acclaimed director Steve James has released the first trailer for his film.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail opens theatrically in New York on May 19, followed by Los Angeles and San Francisco on June 9. It expands to more than a dozen cities after that. Abacus is also set to screen as part of the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival on April 30.
James' film focuses on the Sung family, founders of Abacus Federal Savings, a bank that originally catered to Chinese immigrants in lower Manhattan. Despite its relatively small size, Abacus became the only commercial bank to face criminal charges stemming from the 2008 mortgage meltdown that devastated the American economy.
Abacus employees were marched through the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse, handcuffed together. Some faced a maximum sentence of twenty-five years in prison.
Was the prosecution unfair? Financial institutions of vastly greater size than Abacus escaped criminal prosecution for their roles in the mortgage crisis -- banks that may have been considered "too big to fail" (the film's subtitle -- "Small Enough to Jail" -- is a play on that phrase).
Click below to watch the new trailer:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.