Academy Award nominations were announced today, and two films that aired on PBS were included in the Documentary category: Abacus, which was broadcast by Frontline in September, and Last Men in Aleppo, broadcast on POV in July. We have interviewed the director of each various times, in different formats, about their Oscar-nominated films. Revisit those conversations here.
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
"The Only Bank Prosecuted for the 2008 Financial Crisis" – Steve James, the director of Abacus, discusses why the 2,651st largest bank in the U.S., a Chinatown community institution that is the subject of his documentary, was the only one prosecuted in connection with the 2008 financial crisis.
Steve James on The Interview Show – James joins Mark Bazer to discuss the distinction between facts and truths, Ken Burns, and his upcoming project about the range of socioeconomic realities and racial inequality in a suburban Chicago high school, below:
Steve James and Mark Mitten on Chicago Tonight – James and Abacus's producer Mark Mitten discuss the financial crisis and the importance of the story of Abacus on Chicago Tonight, below:
Last Men in Aleppo
"Trying to Create Hope in Syria" – Last Men in Aleppo is about the volunteer rescue workers known as White Helmets who rescue people from the rubble after bombings in Syria. Director Feras Fayyad discusses his film: "They must help themselves because nobody else will help them. They try to create hope."