Q&A with Steve James, director of “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”

Randy Myers and director Steve James at the Shattuck in Berkeley.

I gushed a bit. But, hey, filmmaker Steve James more than deserves it. His new documentary is the, compelling, prize-winning “Abacus: Small Enough to Fail.” On Saturday afternoon, I met Steve and moderated a Q&A after the film was shown in Berkeley.

James is one of America’s finest documentary filmmakers. “Hoop Dreams” is a hallmark,  and it remains one of my all-time favorite films.  (It makes for ideal viewing during the NBA finals).

Two of his other documentaries, “Life Itself” — on the life and legacy of  the iconic film critic Roger Ebert — and “The Interrupters” — about committed Chicago been-there-done-that advocates trying their damnedest to prevent violence — particularly moved me. His “Abacus: Small Enough to Fail” did too. It speaks softly yet effectively.

What an honor it was to moderate the Q&A.




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