INVESTIGATE THE STORY OF THE ONLY U.S. BANK TO BE INDICTED IN THE WAKE OF THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS IN “FRONTLINE: ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL”
INVESTIGATE THE STORY OF THE ONLY U.S. BANK TO BE INDICTED IN THE WAKE OF THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS IN “FRONTLINE: Abacus: small enough to jail”
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Available on DVD from PBS Distribution September 12th
Arlington, Va. – August 28, 2017 – PBS Distribution announced today it is releasing “FRONTLINE:ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL” on DVD. From acclaimed director Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters), the program 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 became 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.
“FRONTLINE:ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL” will be available on DVD September 12, 2017. The run time of the program is approximately 89 minutes and the SRP is $24.99. The program will also be available for digital download.
A small, fiscally conservative bank, Abacus was able to weather the 2008 economic implosion that nearly wrecked the world economy. Institutions with vast holdings like JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and HBSC, all participated in massive mortgage fraud that they plotted and maintained until the whole scheme fell apart in catastrophic fashion. And yet not a single one of these banks has ever been criminally indicted or prosecuted. In fact, the American taxpayers bailed out these banks because they were deemed “too-big-to-fail.”
Only one bank was ever prosecuted for mortgage fraud: Abacus Federal Savings Bank.
With remarkable access to all the players in this complex story, the program creates an intimate portrait of the Sungs’ private and public struggles as they make their way through a difficult trial and its aftermath. The film offers insights from Cyrus Vance Jr. and his team, including Polly Greenberg, Director of the Economic Crimes Unit; Jiayang Fan, a reporter for The New Yorker magazine who covered the entire trial; Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone reporter and author of “The Divide”, who speaks authoritatively about what he sees is the unequal application of justice in America; and from two jurors on the case who explain the fascinating inner workings that led the jury to their verdict. Throughout, the program keeps the Chinese community at the center of the story with community leaders, reporters, and people who live and work in New York’s Chinatown elaborating on the nature of this insular, remarkably unique world.
A Mitten Media, Motto Pictures, Kartemquin Films production for WGBH/FRONTLINE and Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with Blue Ice Film Fund.
About MITTEN MEDIA
Mitten Media is a media company committed to entertainment that engages and inspires while stimulating social consciousness and action. Founded by Mark Mitten in 2011, Mitten Media takes pride in sharing compelling stories that touch audiences’ hearts and minds. Mitten's films include: Abacus: Small Enough To Jail, Life Itself and Making Big Plans: The Story of Chicago’s Olympic Dream. Upcoming Mitten Media projects include The Idealist: The Story of Pierre de Courbertin, about the visionary who founded the modern Olympic Games. www.mittengroup.com
About MOTTO PICTURES
Motto Pictures specializes in producing and executive producing documentary features and documentary series. Founded in 2009, Motto Pictures secures financing, builds distribution strategies and creatively develops films with an eye toward maximizing the position of each project in the domestic and international markets. Motto Pictures has produced a wide range of award-winning documentaries, working with a line-up of talented and acclaimed filmmakers, that have been featured at the most prestigious film festivals and distributed around the world. These films include: Life, Animated; Weiner; The Music of Strangers; Best of Enemies; Art and Craft; The Kill Team; 3 1/2 Minutes, Ten Bullets; 1971; Solitary; Enlighten Us; Southwest of Salem; Indian Point; Buck; Sergio; God Loves Uganda; Manhunt; Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry; and Beware of Mr. Baker, among many others. www.mottopictures.com
About KARTEMQUIN FILMS
Kartemquin Films is a collaborative center for documentary media makers who seek to foster a more engaged and empowered society. In 2016, Kartemquin celebrated 50 years of sparking democracy through documentary. The organization has won every major critical and journalistic prize, including multiple Emmy, Peabody, duPont-Columbia and Robert F. Kennedy journalism awards, Independent Spirit, IDA, PGA and DGA awards, and an Oscar nomination. Kartemquin is recognized as a leading advocate for independent public media, and for its filmmaker development programs that help further grow the field, such as KTQ Labs, Diverse Voices in Docs, and the acclaimed KTQ Internship. Kartemquin is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Chicago.www.kartemquin.com.
ITVS funds, presents, and promotes award-winning documentaries on public television, innovative new media projects on the Web, and the Emmy Award-winning weekly series Independent Lens on Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. on PBS. Mandated by Congress in 1988 and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, ITVS has brought thousands of independently produced programs to American audiences. For more information, visit itvs.org.
FRONTLINE, U.S. television’s longest running investigative documentary series, explores the issues of our times through powerful storytelling. FRONTLINE has won every major journalism and broadcasting award, including 82 Emmy Awards and 20 Peabody Awards. Visit pbs.org/frontline and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr and Google+ to learn more. Founded in 1983, FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS. Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Ford Foundation, the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.
About PBS Distribution
PBS Distribution is the leading media distributor for the public television community, both domestically and internationally, extending the reach of these programs beyond broadcast while generating revenue for the public television system, stations, and producers.
PBS Distribution offers a broad range of high quality content in multiple formats including DVD, Blu-ray, digital download, and digital streaming. PBS International offers factual content for broadcast, cable, and satellite services internationally. The PBS Distribution catalog includes films from Ken Burns, documentaries from award-winning series such as NOVA, FRONTLINE, AMERICAN MASTERS, NATURE, and AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, dramas from MASTERPIECE, as well as films from independent producers and popular children’s programming.
FRONTLINE:ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL
Street Date: September 12, 2017
Run Time: Approximately 89 minutes
SRP: DVD $24.99