ABACUS generates buzz before highly anticipated TIFF '16 premiere; First exclusive clip and theatrical poster revealed

Acclaimed director Steve James' newest film Abacus has quickly become one of the most highly anticipated films of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival since the announcement of the film's premiere, which is this Sunday at 4pm at the Ted Rogers Hot Docs Cinema.

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.


Here's a look at some of the press Abacus has gotten so far:

  • Featured in The World Journal, the largest Chinese-language daily newspaper in the US
  • "Think George Bailey of It's a Wonderful Life in New York's Chinatown. Sound a little dry? Not if the director of Hoop Dreams and Life Itself is behind the camera." - Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
  • "Never heard of Thomas Sung and his Chinatown bank? Neither have most people, but we're confident that one of our best documentarians will tell his story with the compassion and detail that only he can." - Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
  • "Steve James makes a pretty good case for being the greatest living American documentary filmmaker, with stone-cold classics like Hoop Dreams and The Interrupters...and his latest is bound to be one of the non-fiction highlights of the festival. " - Oliver Lyttelton, The Playlist
  • "James' career has been highlighted by individuals beset by near-unconquerable foes (eradication of inner-city gang violence, terminal illness, traumatic brain injuries). To see that same approach applied to the twin pillars of the financial industry and the American justice system should make for an enlightening watch." - Indie Wire
  • #1 on Time Out New York's "15 Best Movies to see at Toronto Film Festival 2016"
  • Read an interview with Steve James by Matt Fagerholm at RogerEbert.com

Abacus is Steve James’ ninth feature-length film or series produced at Kartemquin Films, which is celebrating 50 years of “sparking democracy through documentary” in 2016. James will attend the upcoming Kartemquin 50th Anniversary retrospectives September 16-27 in Los Angeles at the Billy Wilder Theater, presented by the UCLA Film & TV Archive and the International Documentary Association (IDA).

Steve James will also be the keynote speaker at the IDA’s Getting Real 2016 conference, held September 27-29 in Los Angeles.


BUY TICKETS to see the film here.