PN 49: Steve James From “Hoop Dreams” to “Abacus”

New York’s Chinatown is the backdrop for Steve James’ latest documentary “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.” He follows a David vs Goliath legal tale about the Chinese-American family behind a small bank defending themselves against an aggressive prosecution.

In Part 1 of this episode, Pure Nonfiction host Thom Powers talks to James about his breakthrough film “Hoop Dreams” and the development of his career that included a stint directing fiction films.

In Part 2, Powers interviews three of the key figures in “Abacus” – the sisters Jill, Vera and Chanterelle Sung. They discuss what it was like being filmed by James during this tense period of their lives.

James was interviewed before a live audience at the Montclair Film Festival. The Sungs were interviewed as part of the Stranger Than Fiction series at the IFC Center.

For more, hear episode 19 when James discussed “Abacus” before its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

On Twitter:  @AbacusMovie @ThomPowers @PureNonfiction

Pure Nonfiction is distributed by the TIFF podcast network.

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