The only US bank prosecuted for mortgage fraud in the wake of the financial meltdown of 2008, Abacus was definitely not "too big to fail." With a grand total of six branches, this was not a global player. And as a Chinese community bank, maybe it just didn't have the friends in high places to deter a DA looking for headlines.
Hoop Dreams filmmaker Steve James picks up the story as the case finally winds its way to trial. He talks with prosecution and defense, journalists and financial analysts, witnesses and even a juror. But most of the film is dedicated to the bank's founder, Thomas Sung, his wife and three daughters, two of them executives at Abacus (the third worked in the DA's office until charges were laid against her family). James is less interested in financial irregularities than he is in people, and several themes resonate: integrity and trust, immigration and diversity, prejudice and bias. The faces tell the story as this tight-knit family sticks close through the ordeal. Suspenseful, compassionate and surprisingly funny, it has plenty to say about America, good and bad.
|Running Time:||88 minutes|
|Producers:||Mark Mitten, Julie Goldman, Gordon Quinn, Christopher Clements, Betsy Steinberg, Justine Nagan|
|Editor:||David E. Simpson, John Farbrother|
|US Distributor:||PBS Frontline|
|International Sales Company:||Cinetic Media|