Participant Media has acquired the rights to the feature adaptation of the 2016 Oscar-nominated documentary Abacus: Small Enough to Jail with Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond, F9: The Fast Saga) attached to direct, according to Deadline.
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The Steve James documentary centered on the Abacus Federal Savings Bank, a family-owned community bank in New York’s Chinatown which became the only financial institution to face criminal charges during the 2008 financial crisis, as they were deemed “small enough to jail” rather than the infamous “too big to fail” ruling.
“Now more than ever it feels essential to see people standing up for what’s right in the face of social injustice,” Lin said in a statement. “I was very moved when I heard about the Sungs and their courageous journey, and having the honor of getting to know this remarkable family only solidified how important and inspiring their story is. Abacus is a rich, poignant American story that needs to be told, and I am so thrilled that Participant is joining us to tell it.”
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The feature adaptation is set to be penned by Kenneth Lin (Star Trek: Discovery, House of Cards) and James Schamus (Indignation, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), with the trio signing on to the project in 2017 when Perfect Storm Entertainment first acquired the rights to the documentary after its breakout premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Kenneth Lin and the entire Abacus team to tell the story of the Sung family’s courageous, and unexpectedly perilous, pursuit of the American Dream – a story, like the country we’re living in today, at once heartbreaking and hopeful,” Schamus said in a statement.
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The project is set to be produced and financed by Participant alongside Lin’s Perfect Storm Entertainment, with Lin, Ernesto Foronda and Elizabeth Urwin producing for the banner with Mark Mitten also attached to produce while Participant’s Jeff Skoll and Anikah McLaren executive producing with James.
“Simply put, we are just thrilled to be working with such wonderful artists as Justin Lin and Kenneth Lin,” Participant CEO David Linde said in a statement. “And working alongside such good friends as Steve James, Mark Mitten, and now James Schamus, is a beautiful recipe for a wonderful film.”
(Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)