Abacus sells out CIFF Chicago Premiere; Sung family continues to earn viewers' awe and admiration

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, the latest film by director Steve James premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 18 to a sold-out crowd.

Following the screening, members of the Sung family including Vera Sung, Thomas Sung and Hwei Lin Sung were met with an extended standing ovation as they took the stage with director Steve James and producer Mark Mitten.

Below are some of the most memorable quotes from the post-screening discussion:

  • "The meaning of the word 'justice' is how much you can afford...for individuals who are innocent, a lot of the time they've lost their liberty and some of them have lost their lives because of the indiscretion and use of power by those who have authority." –Thomas Sung
  • "I feel very blessed that these kids are so much stronger than I. I'm very happy the acquittal came and we can begin a normal life." –Hwei Lin Sung
  • "As you all know it did [the trial] cost us a substantial amount of money, but that's just the direct cost. The indirect cost, loss of opportunity, far exceeded that...We wanted to maintain our object and purpose in serving the community. If we were just a bank for profit we would not have survived the trial or the prosecution by the District Attorney's office." –Thomas Sung
  • "Usually the [Chinese-American] community is very quiet and fearful, but one of the loan officers is actually filing a lawsuit against the DA's office for damages. There's been a change in the community perception that there is a means for doing the right thing." –Very Sung
  • "I'm often interested in stories of people you don't know about...the Sungs and the bank and what happened to them...these are untold stories–I'm interested in stories where social forces are at work in peoples' lives. One real difference, and it's a really great difference, is that this family has the means to stand up for themselves and defend themselves in a way that many of the people whose stories I've told did not have." –Steve James